Research Projects

Guidebook for Airports to Enhance/Support FAA Trajectory Based Operations (TBO)

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Last Edited by Mike Salamone

The FAA's "Vision for Trajectory Based Operations", Version 2.0 dated September 2017, states that TBO will leverage NextGen improvements to make flight operations more efficient and predictable:

"TBO in 2025 depends upon use of improved data sets and greater collaboration between the FAA and its customers to enable better traffic planning and scheduling decisions. Improved data sets reflect access to new data elements, more accurate and timely data, and data integrated into automation tools where appropriate."

 

A corner stone initiative of TBO is time-based management of air traffic as stated in the FAA TBO Vision.

"Time-based management means the planning and scheduling of operations based on expected airport departure and arrival times and other user-provided inputs."

 

Airport operations and their gate assignment, push back operations, parking sequencing/scheduling, diversion handling, de-icing, departure sequencing, special event management, airport managed ramp tower operations, etc. will have significant influence on obtaining/calculating these expected times. Airport input to expected operations will be extremely important in rapid recovery to efficient operations during any type of irregular operations.

 

Several mechanisms promise benefit to airports that participate in such TBO efforts. The airport is in a unique position to supply information about all operators for TBO, even for flight operators that participate directly in CDM activities. Additionally airport furnished information about non-participating operators improves the ability to predict delays due to demand in excess of capacity for all operations. The promise of TBO is to adjust operations across the system to address delays in phases of flight where they are least costly to remedy. Tackling such problems together with the FAA would allow greater reach and effectiveness than the already successful programs being taken by airports on their own, such as the coordination of GA movement undertaken at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. A participating airport may be able to decrease delay levels experienced by its flight operator customers while increasing infrastructure utilization (especially gates), improving passenger handling and thus avoiding overcrowding and long lines, and shortening the time to recover from IROPS.

 

Presently airports have limited knowledge of TBO planning and implementation. A guidebook for Airports to Enhance/Support FAA Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) would be a valuable asset for airports to support NextGen operations and to benefit from their resulting efficiencies.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The FAA's "Vision for Trajectory Based Operations", Version 2.0 dated September 2017

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

"The FAA's ""Vision for Trajectory Based Operations"", Version 2.0 dated September 2017, states that TBO will leverage NextGen improvements to make flight operations more efficient and predictable:
""TBO in 2025 depends upon use of improved data sets and greater collaboration between the FAA and its customers to enable better traffic planning and scheduling decisions. Improved data sets reflect access to new data elements, more accurate and timely data, and data integrated into automation tools where appropriate.""

A corner stone initiative of TBO is time-based management of air traffic as stated in the FAA TBO Vision.
""Time-based management means the planning and scheduling of operations based on expected airport departure and arrival times and other user-provided inputs.""

Airport operations and their gate assignment, push back operations, parking sequencing/scheduling, diversion handling, de-icing, departure sequencing, special event management, airport managed ramp tower operations, etc. will have significant influence on obtaining/calculating these expected times. Airport input to expected operations will be extremely important in rapid recovery to efficient operations during any type of irregular operations.

Several mechanisms promise benefit to airports that participate in such TBO efforts. The airport is in a unique position to supply information about all operators for TBO, even for flight operators that participate directly in CDM activities. Additionally airport furnished information about non-participating operators improves the ability to predict delays due to demand in excess of capacity for all operations. The promise of TBO is to adjust operations across the system to address delays in phases of flight where they are least costly to remedy. Tackling such problems together with the FAA would allow greater reach and effectiveness than the already successful programs being taken by airports on their own, such as the coordination of GA movement undertaken at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. A participating airport may be able to decrease delay levels experienced by its flight operator customers while increasing infrastructure utilization (especially gates), improving passenger handling and thus avoiding overcrowding and long lines, and shortening the time to recover from IROPS.

Presently airports have limited knowledge of TBO planning and implementation. A guidebook for Airports to Enhance/Support FAA Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) would be a valuable asset for airports to support NextGen operations and to benefit from their resulting efficiencies."

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The research would be comprised of three (3) phases:
1.
Through a comprehensive
survey, determine what is the current level of airport awareness and knowledge
concerning FAA plans to implement trajectory
-based operations (TBO).
2.
With participation of airports determine what will be the impact and benefits to airport operations and pla
nning
when participating in conducting TBO?
3.
With the assistance of key airports, development of a TBO guidebook for airports to enable participation and
gain the benefits of TBO.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) results in true g
ate
-to-gate control of flight operations. The purpose, as stated in
the FAA's Vision for Trajectory Based Operations, is to improve predictability and efficiency of the National
Airspace System. This vision impacts airport in several ways:
1.
Environmental –
Effective TBO departure queue management will reduce taxi out times thus reducing aircraft
emissions.
2.
Gate Usage – Controlling/timing pushbacks to sequence departures in the most efficient departure order will
impact gate usage and will make gate occupancy more predictable.
3.
Data elements –
TBO requires an accurate and timely availability of prescribed data elements to enable the
desired increase in operational predictability. In many cases airports, especially those with ramp tower
operations, have the m
ost accurate knowledge of flight readiness and gate availability.
4.
Predictability of Infrastructure Usage –
The enhanced operational predictability brought about by TBO will not
only enable more efficient usage of airport infrastructure, but will identify t
he need and benefit of additional
infrastructure. It will also enable predictions of passenger demand on airport services and security.
5.
NASA, at the Charlotte Douglas Airport, is currently conducting the first demonstration in gate
-to-gate flight management. This demonstration is expected to result in a technology transfer to not only the FAA but also to
flight operators and airports. Airports need to understand the benefits of and prepare for TBO.
Cost of research is estimated at $400,000

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

Related research in the field of Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) relative to airport operations is limited due to the
relative newness of the implementation of the TBO concept. The NASA ATD2 (Advanced Technology
Demonstration) project at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina is the first in this field. This
project will continue for the next few years and expected results will include a technology transfer not only to the
FAA, but also to industry (including airports).

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