US FAA set to optimise aircraft flow with time-based metering tool

22 August 2013 (Last Updated August 22nd, 2013 18:30)

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has deployed a new time-based flow management (TBFM) system at 20 en route centres, as part of its efforts to optimise aircraft flow in the nation's crowded airspace.

Aircraft image

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has deployed a new time-based flow management (TBFM) system at 20 en route centres, as part of its efforts to optimise aircraft flow in the nation's crowded airspace.

The new Lockheed Martin-built time-based metering system will replace the existing traffic management advisor (TMA).

TMA will metre aircraft during all phases of flight to calculate the exact number of aircraft entering into airspace sectors and also down to the runway at the precise rate, to find out how manay aircraft can be accommodated in a specific place at a specific time.

The system also enables air traffic controllers (ATC) and managers to efficiently manage aircraft flow in crowded airspace.

Time-based metering also helps in addressing irregularities and deliver aircraft at a more consistent flow down to the runway.

Upon the completion of training and commencement of operations, the TBFM is expected to offer a better platform for executing NextGen operations including performance-based navigation procedures that are currently being introduced.

During the deployment phase, FAA collaborated with Lockheed Martin, while each of the 20 en route centres also worked together with multiple ATO Service Units to resolve several technical issues.

Following initial deployment of the system, FAA is also planning to deploy the system in the US airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Recently, NASA has delivered a new NextGen software tool to the US FAA, to help ATC boost the overall air traffic management (ATM) efficiency by bringing down missed or delayed departures, while escalating aircraft departures within a specified timeframe.


Image: The Time-Based Flow Management system enables ATCs and managers to efficiently control aircraft in crowded airspace. Photo: courtesy of Houston Airport System.