Embry-Riddle and research partners to demo weather advisory info integration: New Tools Key to Better Air Traffic Control, Reducing Delays and Fuel Consumption

Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 1, 2008 – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University today announced it will demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) its progress in developing air traffic control tools capable of reducing weather-related flight delays, reducing aircraft fuel consumption, and improving the efficiency of flight operations. Along with research partners Lockheed Martin, Computer Sciences Corp., Boeing, ENSCO, and Mosaic ATM, the demonstration will show how current and forecasted weather information can be successfully integrated into the FAA’s traffic management and en route automation systems, located in FAA centers and major airports around the country.

The demonstration, to be held at Embry-Riddle’s NextGen testing facility at Daytona Beach International Airport on Nov. 18, will highlight what could be a cornerstone system enhancement and critical next step in the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System needed to safely accommodate the growing number of U.S. air travelers, estimated to hit one billion by 2016.

“The key to realizing the benefits of NextGen is to have all systems talking to one another and integrated under a systemwide information management system,” said Dr. Christina Frederick-Recascino, Embry-Riddle’s vice president for research. “This demonstration will show the FAA that this particular integration is feasible, practical, and beneficial.”
The demonstration will show the FAA how integrating weather with traffic information throughout the national airspace system will allow controllers to reroute aircraft efficiently and quickly around thunderstorms and other forecasted severe weather.

New weather forecast products will be transmitted to the computers of D-position controllers, enabling the controllers to probe flights to identify weather incursions. The D-position controllers can then use a new rerouting capability to point-and-click aircraft around the predicted severe weather to generate new flight plans and efficiently schedule aircraft at their arrival destinations.

By sharing information throughout the national airspace and giving controllers the ability to reroute air traffic smoothly long before it reaches bad weather, the new system will result in fewer disruptions and delays in the air and at airports. Travelers will have shorter waits and jetliners will burn less fuel.

Embry-Riddle and its partners are conducting NextGen research in three phases: 

  • Phase 1 (2008 and 2009) – Integration of 4-D weather and flight trajectory display systems on controllers’ computers, allowing them to better manage flights around current and forecasted severe weather.
  • Phase 2 (2009 and 2010) – Possible focus on integration of airport surface monitoring and departure and arrival management systems into a systemwide information management (SWIM) system.
  • Phase 3 (2010 and 2011) – Possible focus on integration of a 300 percent increase in air traffic, using continuous ascent and descent procedures that are smoother, quieter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than current “step-up” and “step-down” methods.

Embry-Riddle is working with the NextGen program office to test new technologies and enhance existing ones to advance the FAA’s NextGen vision by giving leading industry and research partners the ability to model these capabilities in a real airport environment – such as the Daytona Beach testing facility. Program participants also include Barco, Frequentis, Harris Corp., Jeppesen, Sensis, Transtech, and the Volpe Center.


Source: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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