Posts Tagged ‘jpdo’

JPDO – Federal Policy Framework

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

by Diana Khera 

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the JPDO is also working on setting up a framework for high- level federal policy on several airport-related topics.  There is a sizable list of airport-related policies that are under consideration, but here are a few that have the greatest amount of momentum at this time: 

Timely Equipage of Aircraft and Deployment of CNS/ATM NextGen Technologies: Policies are being explored to determine if operational incentives, economic incentives (e.g., tax credits) or mandates should be employed to promote aircraft equipage of specific NextGen avionics technologies that will be necessary to achieve improved performance and safety in the National Airspace System (NAS). This policy is essential for successful implementation of most of NextGen capabilities.  

Role of Federal Government Airport Capacity Enhancements: The JPDO and its partners are looking into ways to increase and/or alter the way that the federal government supports airport capacity enhancement and airport preservation;  the debates range from simply increasing the federal involvement in base closers and realignments to proposals for legislative changes that would strengthen the FAA’s role as a proponent of the aviation system.   .

Airspace Regulatory Changes – Global Harmonization:  Develop streamlined US and international regulatory/policy coordination, through International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and/or other bilateral/multilateral partnerships, to harmonize and improve flexibility in modification of international regulations and policies related to airspace use.

Part 2 of 2 – Airspace and Procedures at JPDO

Monday, March 15th, 2010

by Diana Khera

Another concept under development at the JPDO that will influence how airports and airspace are utilized and planned is called  Super Density Operations.  This is basically a portfolio of new technologies and procedures for improving airport surface movements, reducing spacing and separation requirements, and better managing overall flows in and out of busy metropolitan airspace.   “Busy metropolitan airspace” is the key phrase here. Super density ops is the far-term solution for highly congested metropolitan areas.    Most of the components of Super Density Ops have been discussed at many conferences and forums in the last five years, but what is new and challenging is that the JPDO is taking a preliminary look at strategies for prioritizing flights in situations where excess demand is encountered regardless of all the NextGen improvements.   

A great need will arise for achieving peak throughput performance at the busiest airports and in the busiest airspace as NextGen demand materializes.  Even with the increased capacity and operating flexibility of NextGen and Super Density Operations, there will be situations and environments in which operators will compete for a limited volume of airspace and airport facilities.  We all know that unmanaged excess demand can degrade system efficiency and cause delays that ripple through the entire air transportation system.  The good news is that NextGen 4D trajectory management, better communications vehicles, and net-enabled system wide information sharing will provide the capability for flights operating in congested environments to be rationalized and prioritized in ways that increase overall capacity and efficiency in the system.  It will also provide more predictability and flexibility for operators. To achieve maximum benefits of these capabilities however, prioritization rules, mechanisms, and regimes (derived in collaboration with users and other stakeholders), both for strategic ATM and tactical trajectory management, must be developed and applied by the NextGen 4DT automation.   One of the solutions on the table that is of special interest to those of us dealing with airspace design is the concept of applying such prioritization rules in a new type of airspace called: wait for it…. you guessed it … restricted Super Density Airspace.  As I mentioned earlier this is all at the most conceptual levels at this time as we are discussing a very complex far-term capability, but I did want to bring to your attention that there is a team of JPDO subject matter experts, FAA and industry representatives exploring and documenting  historic and proposed flight prioritization rules, mechanisms and regimes, and that they are developing  a catalog of flight prioritization options that might be feasible and helpful for Super Density Operations under NextGen.  The basic objectives of this undertaking are to :

  • Define a technical basis for developing and evaluating prioritization rules by establishing a set of metrics, weights, and criteria.
  • Provide an understanding of the decision making process as it affects flight prioritization policy decisions. 

Next up, a framework for high level federal policy on several airport related topics – so visit again soon!

Part 1 of 2 – Airspace and Procedures at the JPDO

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

by Diana Khera

 There are multiple working groups and divisions under the JPDO that work on topics related to airspace and procedures. There are two conceptual efforts that I would like to introduce to you; Trajectory Based Operations, and Flight Prioritization Alternatives for Super Density Operations.

Trajectory Based Operations is the fundamental premise behind far-term NextGen improvement and it refers to strategic and tactical flight planning and gate-to-gate traffic management,  Trajectory Based Operations represents a shift from clearance-based to 4DT trajectory  based control.  The 4DT refers to the lat/long, speed and intent (or time) components of flight planning.  A major benefit of 4DT is that it enables service providers and operators to assess the effects of proposed trajectories and resource allocation plans (including airspace availability), allowing both service providers and operators to understand the implications of existing demand and  to identify where constraints need further mitigation.

In simple terms, TBO is final, most comprehensive, far-term phase of the FAA’s Big Airspace concept;  so, what is the problem that this concept is designed to fix? The partitioning of current airspace into sectors is largely based on controller workload limitations .  Automated separation assurance which is a part of the Trajectory Based Operations Concept  will remove the workload limitations.  In addition, some structural elements of airspace such as fixes and routes, which help controllers anticipate conflicts, may not be necessary.  TBO will also create airspace flexibility, which does not exist currently due to the lack of decision support tools, and coverage limitations of both radio communications and radar.  The flexible airspace that will be necessary to support TBO will also help elevate the problem of uniform demand and under-utilized controller resources. Several concepts are on the drawing boards for the TBO concept– from the more common ideas of corridors-in-the-sky through concepts for segregating traffic according to air traffic control category to finally the most ambitious and least defined concepts for large scale dynamic resectorization.    The dynamic resectorization shows  great amount of potential but great amounts of work is still needed by the JPDO, NASA, FAA and others in order to define the concept and prove operational feasibility. 

As you can imagine, the TBO is a very complex concept and it involves changes in technologies , procedures, and policies. Some basic features of the TBO concept are: 1) trajectories are prenegotiated gate-to-gate, but are also tactically managed – this implies very high level of automation; 2) level of required aircraft performance will be driven by demands vs capacity; 3) user access priority still needs to be determined but we are reasonability sure by now that it will not be first come first serve; 4) some airspace may be exclusionary to trajectory based operations (especially at high altitude and/or super density areas).

Part 2, on super density, will follow soon – so stay tuned!