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National Airspace System : free flight tools show promise, but implementation challenges remain
  • Published Date:
    2001-08-31
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-463.56 KB]


Details:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
  • TRIS Online Accession Number:
    819621
  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Safety/Airworthiness
  • Abstract:
    To help meet growing demand for air travel, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in collaboration with the aviation community, is implementing a new approach for air traffic management known as free flight. By using a set of new automated technologies (tools) and procedures, free flight is intended to increase the capacity and efficiency of our nation's airspace system while helping to minimize delays. Because of the importance of the free flight program to the future operation of our nation's airspace system and FAA's upcoming investment decision, the GAO was asked to review the program's status to help determine whether FAA will be in a position by March 2002 to make a decision to move to the next phase. This report discusses (1) the technical and operational issues that could impair the ability of the free flight tools to achieve their full potential and (2) the extent to which these tools will increase capacity and efficiency while helping to minimize delays in our nation's airspace system. Briefly, the GAO review showed that collectively the free flight tools have demonstrated some benefits. By March 2002, FAA should have sufficient information to make an investment decision about deploying the Traffic Management Advisor tool to additional sites in phase 2. As for operational issues, FAA's greatest challenge is effectively managing the cultural changes in controllers' roles and responsibilities that using the free flight tools entails and communicating the capabilities of the Traffic Management Advisory tool to controllers. Preliminary data have indicated that the free flight tools have the potential to increase both capacity and efficiency. However, because the future demand for air traffic services is expected to outpace the increases expected from the tools, the collective length of the delays during peak periods will continue to increase but not to the extent they would have without them.

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