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ATD-2 and ATM-X DIP brief the FAA Flow Evaluation Team and Surface Collaborative Decision Making Team
January 20, 2021

On January 15, NASA's Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) project briefed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA's) Flow Evaluation Team (FET) and Surface Collaborative Decision Making Team (SCT). Topics covered in this update included the ATD-2 Phase 3 Field Evaluation in the North Texas Metroplex and the introduction to the Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Digital Information Platform (DIP) subproject.

Highlights of the Phase 3 Field Evaluation include new emerging use cases that leverage the Trajectory Option Set (TOS) and analysis of predicted benefits associated with an event, which occurred on December 30, 2020, driven by heavy terminal restrictions in response to an adverse weather scenario. Over 4 hours on December 30, Dallas-Fort Worth terminal area East departure gate was restricted to a single departure fix and the flow was subject to an additional 10 Miles-In-Trail which passed back significant delay to both Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Dallas Love (DAL) airport surfaces. While the East departure gate was restricted, the North departure gate was unrestricted, and flights travelling northeast could reroute through the North gate with little to no delay while only incurring a slight increase to the overall flight time. During this event, the ATD-2 Phase 3 system recommended 53 flights for TOS reroute, with an average predicted delay savings of 38.7 minutes to the individual rerouted flight, and an average predicted system-level Metroplex savings of 85.8 minutes.

At the briefing, ATD-2 provided an update on the Machine Learning (ML) Airport Surface Model that is under development in a parallel effort to the Phase 3 Field Evaluation. The ML Airport Surface Model was designed to be a scalable replacement for the capabilities provided by NASA's Surface Trajectory Based Operations (STBO) subsystem, which is a component of the fielded Phase 3 System. The STBO system relies heavily upon detailed adaptation, which defines the physical constraints and Subject Matter Expert knowledge encoded in decision trees, which creates a costly bottleneck to scaling the Phase 3 system across the National Airspace System (NAS). ATD-2 is completing the initial build of the adaptation-free ML Airport Surface Model before the Stormy 2021 season to allow for a shadow evaluation against the traditional STBO system.

The NASA representatives also introduced the ATM-X DIP subproject. Mirna Johnson, DIP Subproject Manager, is leading up the project formulation and described the high-level goals and scope of the DIP project. This meeting kicked off the discussion on maintaining NASA-FAA collaboration, building on the momentum from ATD-2 through DIP efforts.

POC: Jeremy Coupe and Mirna Johnson

ATD-2 Begins Dissemination of Daily TOS Activity Reports to Field Partners in the D10 Metroplex
January 20, 2021

On January 14, the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) team launched the daily dissemination of Trajectory Option Set (TOS) activity reports for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), field demo partner airlines such as American Airlines and Envoy Air at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), and Southwest Airlines at Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) in the D10 Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The content for the reports has been in development over several months, incorporating feedback from field demo partners and users through bi-weekly meetings, tabletop exercises, and reviewing initial prototypes. The reports contain airline-specific details of the previous day’s TOS activity for impacted flights, based on data computed by the ATD-2 system on departure flights in the D10 Metroplex area. The reports summarize cost saving alternate routes suggested by the ATD-2 system to meet the demand capacity imbalance at the D10 Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) boundary, arising from restrictions such as departure fix closure and Miles-in-Trail (MIT). The report also provides estimated benefits at carrier, fleet, airport, and system-wide level, associated with each TOS route. The field demo partners reported that they are eager to use the TOS Activity Reports to further their understanding of TOS benefits and continue to offer feedback to improve the ATD-2 system.

POC: Divya Bhadoria

NASA ATD-2 Phase 3 Stormy 2021 Training for DFW Tower and Envoy Airlines
January 20, 2021

The NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) team provided seven sessions of virtual training to Air Traffic Coordinators at Envoy airlines and Traffic Management Coordinators (TMC) at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) Tower during the first three weeks of December 2020. Four of the training sessions were conducted with the coordinators at Envoy airlines and three of the training sessions were conducted with the TMCs at DFW Tower.

The training sessions for Envoy included an overview of the objectives of ATD-2, Phase 3, demonstrations of the various ATD-2 tools, and extensive instruction on how to use the Trajectory Options Set (TOS) Table, which is designed to make it easy for the flight operator to identify a flight that could be rerouted to attain efficiency benefits.

The training sessions for DFW Tower included: detailed explanations of the new elements recently added to ATD-2; refresher training on how to approve a TOS request submitted by the flight operator; explanation of the benefits of a taxi plan being entered into the ATD-2 system as far in advance as operationally feasible; and a demonstration of how the flight operators utilize aggregate delay savings to assess the benefits of submitting a reroute.

POC: Greg Juro

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