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Next Gen Air Traffic Control


Shifts in air traffic controllers' situation awareness during high altitude mixed equipage operations 

The Challenge

Air traffic was predicted to increase over the next 15 years, and the FAA was tasked to redesign the airspace so that both pilots and air traffic controls can safely manage the increased demand.  A key component of an air traffic controllers' expertise lies in their ability to develop and maintain situation awareness. 

Because controllers will no longer be able to maintain an awareness of all the aircraft within their sector, the development of automated tools and revisions to airspace design are being explored. 

This simulation examined the feasibility and benefits of creating highly structured routes, or “corridors”, flown by aircraft with common avionics equipage at common speeds to increase the sector capacity.

The Approach

Our experiment was assessing the feasibility of two variables: 

1. Flow corridors: highly structured routes flown by aircraft with common avionics equipage and at common speeds. Air traffic controllers can direct these aircrafts into the corridors and essentially 'set it and forget it'. 

2. Data Communications: These are data messages sent to the aircraft that contain 4D trajectory amendments to route planning as well as transfer of communications (think text messages with automatic route planning)

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