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Nextgen operations in a simulated NY area airspace  (2013)
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A human-in-the-loop simulation conductedin the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) at NASA Ames Research Center explored the feasibility of a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) solution to address airspace and airport capacity limitations in and around the New York metropolitan area. A week-long study explored the feasibility of a new Optimal Profile Descent (OPD) arrival into the airspace as well as a novel application of a Terminal Area Precision Scheduling and Spacing (TAPSS) enhancement to the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) arrival scheduling tool to coordinate high volume arrival traffic to intersecting runways. In the simulation, four en route sector controllers and four terminal radar approach control (TRACON) controllers managed traffic inbound to Newark International Airport's primary runway, 22L, and its intersecting overflow runway, 11. TAPSS was used to generate independent arrival schedules for each runway and a traffic management coordinator participant adjusted the arrival schedule for each runway 11 aircraft to follow one of the 22L aircraft. TAPSS also provided controller-managed spacing tools (slot markers with speed advisories and timelines) to assist the TRACON controllers in managing the arrivals that were descending on OPDs.

Results showed that the tools significantly decreased the occurrence of runway violations (potential go-arounds) when compared with a Baseline condition with no tools. Further, the combined use of the tools with the new OPDs produced a peak arrival rate of over 65 aircraft per hour using instrument flight rules (IFR), exceeding the current maximum arrival rate at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) of 52 per hour under visual flight rules (VFR). Although the participants rated the workload as relatively low and acceptable both with and without the tools, they rated the tools as reducing their workload further. Safety and coordination were rated by most participants as acceptable in both conditions, although the TRACON Runway Coordinator (TRC) rated neither as acceptable in the Baseline condition. Regarding the role of the TRC, the two TRACON controllers handling the 11 arrivals indicated that the TRC was very much needed in the Baseline condition without tools, but not needed in the condition with tools. This indicates that the tools were providing much of the sequencing and spacing information that the TRC had supplied in the Baseline condition.
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airspace, area, Nextgen, NY, operations, simulated
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In Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2013 IEEE/AIAA 32nd. IEEE
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Joey Mercer
Last Updated: August 15, 2019