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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
ATD-2 Phase 1 Field Demonstration “Go-Live”
October 4, 2017

Photograph of a man sitting in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower, in front of three monitors displaying air traffic control tools. In the background is an out-the-window view of airport traffic.
Charlotte Air Traffic Control Tower

The Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) Phase 1 Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) Baseline Demonstration commenced on September 29, 2017 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). During the Phase 1 demonstration, American Airlines (AAL) Ramp Managers and Controllers and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Traffic Managers in the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) are using the ATD-2 IADS system to collaboratively manage surface traffic at CLT to improve the predictability and efficiency of surface operations. The ATD-2 IADS system will also help FAA Traffic Managers at CLT ATCT and Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) to smoothly merge flights departing CLT into busy northeast corridor overhead traffic flows. The Phase 1 Demo will proceed as a series of micro-phases, each of which introduces additional capabilities to IADS system users. Phase 1A involves using the ATD-2 system for all data exchange features between the FAA ATCT and the AAL ramp as part of daily operations. Phase 1B will include the use of the ATD-2 system for electronic negotiation between CLT ATCT and Washington ARTCC for Call for Release (CFR) departure scheduling. Phase 1C will add the surface departure metering capability, where ramp controllers are provided with gate pushback time advisories to help address demand/capacity constraints and traffic management initiatives. (POC: Shivanjli Sharma)

Photograph of staff viewing displays of traffic management tools in the American Airlines ramp tower at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
American Airlines Ramp Tower



Operational Shadow Evaluation Successfully Completed for the ATD-2 Phase 1 Field Demonstration
October 4, 2017

Photograph of ATD-2 team members

On September 28, 2017, the Operational Shadow Evaluation for the Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) Phase 1 Integrated/Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) Baseline Demonstration (OSE1) period was successfully completed. OSE1 began July 10, 2017, with the objective of enabling field demonstration partners to interact with the ATD-2 IADS system in their operational environment to gain experience and familiarity prior to the start of the Phase 1 demonstration targeted for September 29, 2017. The ATD-2 IADS system was deployed to the backrooms and operational locations at Washington Air Traffic Route Control Center (ARTCC) and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT)/Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and American Airlines (AAL) Ramp Tower. During OSE1, NASA researchers participated in weekly testing activities with field demo partners. The ATD-2 Technical Support Team was also established to support users during OSE1 and throughout the Phase 1 demonstration. During the OSE1 period, operational (hands-on and classroom) training sessions at CLT were conducted August 7-11 and September 24-28 for 43 AAL ramp traffic managers and controllers and 20 FAA traffic managers and supervisors; 14 traffic managers were trained on the ATD-2 IADS system on September 19-20 at Washington ARTCC. Baseline data was collected September 24-28 at both the AAL ramp tower and FAA CLT ATCT/TRACON. The ATD-2 team also hosted meetings with field demo partners at the NASA ATD-2 Lab (CLTlab) with participation from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), CLT Airport Operations, AAL, FAA Headquarters, and CLT Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT). These meetings were held to review plans and procedures for the initial months of the Phase 1 demonstration. On September 28, field demo partners were polled for an Operational Evaluation Readiness Decision (OER1) and approved to “Go Live” with the Phase 1 Baseline IADS Demonstration on September 29. (POC: Shivanjli Sharma)



ATD-2 meets with Collaborative Decision Making Teams
October 4, 2017

Photograph of ATD-2 and CDM team members

On September 27, 2017, NASA participated in a joint meeting of two government/industry Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) teams. The Surface CDM Team (SCT) and the CDM Automation Team (CAT) met at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Warrenton, Virginia. The SCT and CAT teams meet regularly and consist of representatives from the major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines, general aviation, airport representatives, FAA, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). The majority of the full-day meeting was devoted to technical and policy discussions regarding the FAA’s Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) program and NASA’s ATD-2 project, which seeks to inform and reduce risk for TFDM. ATD-2’s Integrated Arrival, Departure and Surface (IADS) system recently began its operational demonstration on September 29, 2017, at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). Topics discussed at the meeting included the development of industry tools to allow flight operators to interface with IADS, expectations for Earliest Off Block Time (EOBT) data sent by flight operators, and roles and procedures for establishing when surface departure metering is required at airports. The SCT and CAT teams expressed interest in helping NASA define requirements for successful technology transfer to industry that would allow the development of commercial tools that build on the IADS technologies demonstrated under ATD-2. The importance of providing accurate EOBT data to IADS was recognized by the team, and it was requested that NASA continue to engage with the team on accuracy requirements, lead times, and expected benefits. Results from this engagement with the SCT and CAT are expected to help shape future software and analysis requirements for ATD-2, particularly in the areas of strategic scheduler integration and flight prioritization. (POC: Al Capps)



Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) Evaluation of Multi-Flight Common Routes (MFCR)
October 4, 2017

A HITL evaluation of the MFCR tool was conducted in the Air Traffic Control Laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center, September 26-28, 2017. MFCR is a NASA-developed concept under the Airspace Technology Demonstration 3 (ATD-3) subproject and associated decision support tools designed to assist air traffic flow managers to efficiently update weather avoidance routes after the original re-routes have become outdated due to subsequent evolution of the convective weather system. MFCR groups multiple flights to reduce the number of advisories that the traffic flow manager needs to evaluate, and also merges these flights on a common route segment to provide an orderly flow of re-routed traffic. Four experienced Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel provided feedback on the MFCR tool and its concept of use. Specific topics of evaluation included the operational acceptability of MFCR re-route advisories, the usability of MFCR’s graphical user interface, and overall viability of MFCR’s concept of use. Data was collected across a total of 120 evaluation points. Feedback from the subject-matter experts was overall very positive, indicating that MFCR identified many time-saving re-routing opportunities that would be difficult to identify manually during air traffic operations in bad weather conditions. (POC: Karl Bilimoria)



ATD-2 Operational Training Conducted at Washington Center for the Phase 1 Field Demonstration
October 4, 2017

Photograph of participants in the ATD-2 operational training at Washington Center
Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center Training

On September 19-20 2017, the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstrations 2 (ATD-2) team conducted operational training at Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) in preparation for the Phase 1 Field Demonstration. During the Phase 1 Field Demonstration, American Airlines (AAL) ramp managers and controllers and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) traffic managers in the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) will use the ATD-2 Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) system to collaboratively manage surface traffic at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to achieve departure metering goals. The ATD-2 IADS system will also help FAA traffic managers at CLT ATCT and Washington ARTCC to smoothly merge flights departing CLT into the busy overhead traffic flows. The training provided active FAA Traffic Management Coordinators (TMC) with information on how to use the Surface Trajectory-Based Operation (STBO) client that is deployed at the Washington ARTCC Traffic Management Unit. The STBO Client interfaces with the FAA’s Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM) system to automate the Call For Release (CFR) process between CLT ATCT and Washington ARTCC. The STBO Client provides additional data and situational awareness on the CLT surface and departure operations for Washington ARTCC TMCs. The IADS system is also installed in the backroom area, where training was provided to 14 TMCs. This training was part of the final stage of the preparation for the beginning of the Phase 1 Field Demonstration targeted for September 29. (POC: Savita Verma, Eric Chevalley)



ATD-2 Ramp Management Tools Training for American Airlines
October 4, 2017

On September 8, 2017, the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstrations 2 (ATD-2) Team trained the American Airlines (AAL) Corporate Operations Research Department on the ramp management tools that are part of the Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) system. The ATD-2 IADS system is deployed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and which will be used operationally during the Phase 1 Field Demonstration in the AAL Ramp Tower, CLT Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT)/Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and FAA Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The ramp management tools consist of the Ramp Traffic Console (RTC) and Ramp Manager Traffic Console (RMTC). There are currently four RTCs and one RMTC deployed on the operational floor in the AAL CLT Ramp Tower. The ramp management tools provide pushback advisories to the ramp controllers, utilizing appropriate gate holds to meter surface traffic, which is anticipated to reduce taxi congestion and emissions. The training was conducted at NASA’s North Texas Research Station (Fort Worth, Texas), and participants provided feedback on how these tools might fit with AAL’s existing tools in the CLT Ramp Tower. (POC: Savita Verma)


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