Federal Aviation Administration

Appendix B - Portfolios

Separation Management

Portfolio Icon

Separation Management provides controllers with tools to manage aircraft in a mixed environment of varying navigation equipment and wake performance capabilities.
Download a PDF of this portfolio

Phases of Flight

A diagram depicting the Phases of Flight: Flight Planning; Pushback, Taxi, Takeoff, Domestic and Oceanic Cruise, Descent, Final Approach, and Landing, Taxi. OI 1: 102108 applies to the Domestic and Oceanic Cruise Phase of Flight. OI 2: 102137 applies to the Domestic and Oceanic Cruise Phase of Flight. OI 3: 102154 applies to the Takeoff, Domestic and Oceanic Cruise, and Final Approach Phases of Flight.

Timeline for Achieving OIs and Capabilities

OI 102108: Oceanic In-Trail Climb and Descent (2010-2013) � The current timeline spans from FY 2012 to FY 2015.  Automatic Dependent Surveillance�Contract (ADS-C) Oceanic Climb/Descent Procedure is currently available.  Enhanced Oceanic Climb/Descent Procedure via ADS-C Automation is currently in development and its availability date has been pushed back from FY 2014 to FY 2015 (see note 1).  Automatic Dependent Surveillance�Broadcast (ADS-B) Oceanic In-Trail Procedure and Automation is currently in development and will be available in FY 2015. OI 102137: Automation Support for Separation Management (2014-2018) � The current timeline spans from FY 2012 to FY 2016 and beyond.  Work on Approval of User Requests and Resolving Conflicts with Efficient Maneuvers in En Route Airspace will begin in FY 2016 (see note 2).  Work on Electronic Flight Data for Non-Surveillance Airspace will begin in FY 2016 (see note 3).  Work on Wake Turbulence Alerts for En Route Controllers will begin in FY 2016 (see note 4).  Automated Terminal Proximity Alert (ATPA) is currently available and work will continue to FY 2014. OI 102154: Wake Re-Categorization (2014-2020) � The current timeline spans from FY 2012 to FY 2014.  Wake Re-Categorization Phase 1 � Aircraft Re-Categorization is currently in development and will be available in FY 2014.

1 Formerly Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Contract (ADS-C) Automation for Oceanic Climb/Descent Procedure, schedule extended to 2015

2 Formerly Automation Support for Non-Surveillance Airspace – Electronic Flight Strips

3 Formerly Problem Detection and Wake Turbulence Alert in 3 nm Separation Areas

4 Formerly Introduce Probed Menus onto the Radar and Data Consoles

Selected Work Activities

1 OI 102108: Oceanic In-Trail Climb and Descent (2010-2013)


FY 2012

  • Completed: Completed ADS-C Climb/Descent Procedure (CDP) operational trial
  • Completed: Conducted ADS-C CDP automation transition
  • Completed: Completed In-Trail Procedure (ITP) operational evaluation interim analysis
  • Completed: Completed ITP operational evaluation flights in the Pacific

FY 2013

  • Complete second phase of operational trials for ADS-B ITP

FY 2014+

  • ADS-B ITP operationally available

2 OI 102137: Automation Support for Separation Management (2014-2018)


  • Supported by Flexible Terminal Environment

FY 2012

  • Completed: Automated Terminal Proximity Alert (ATPA) service available at Common Automated Radar Terminal System (CARTS) facilities with color displays at
    • DEN
    • SCT
    • NCT
    • SDF
    • A80
    • PCT
  • Completed: Conducted ATPA integration and developmental test

FY 2013

  • Implement ATPA in a Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) facility

FY 2014+

  • Implement ATPA Service Available in all STARS Facilities.

3 OI 102154: Wake Re-Categorization (2014-2020)


  • Supported by NextGen System Development

FY 2012

  • Completed: Completed draft changes to FAA Orders for implementing the 6 Category wake separation standards
  • Completed: Completed draft supporting Safety Risk Management Document and implementation strategy for changes to National Airspace System (NAS) automation

FY 2013

  • First Site Operational at
    • MEM

FY 2014+

  • Publish new wake separation standards in Order 7110.65

Descriptions of OIs and Capabilities

In Concept
at least one site
1 OI 102108: Oceanic In-Trail Climb and Descent
Air navigation service provider (ANSP) automation enhancements will take advantage of improved communication, navigation and surveillance coverage in the oceanic domain. When authorized by the controller, pilots of equipped aircraft use established procedures for climbs and descents.
Available (at least one site)

ADS-C Oceanic CDP
The ADS-C CDP (previously known as ADS-C ITP) is a new concept that allows a properly equipped aircraft (aircraft equipped with Future Air Navigation System 1/A) to climb or descend through the altitude of another properly equipped aircraft with a reduced longitudinal separation distance (compared with the required longitudinal separation minima for same-track, same-altitude aircraft). This procedure allows more aircraft to reach their preferred altitudes. ADS-C CDP will increase the benefits from the use of advanced communication, navigation and surveillance capabilities through Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications, Required Navigation Performance and ADS-C.

In Development

Enhanced Oceanic CDP via ADS-C Automation
Automation enhancements to the Oceanic Automation System (Ocean21) would maximize the benefits of ADS-C CDP as traffic and the number of equipped aircraft increase. The automation enhancements to Ocean21 include capabilities to allow a controller to select two aircraft and ensure they are eligible for ADS-C CDP, send concurrent on-demand position reports to two aircraft, determine if the minimum separation distance between the two aircraft is greater than the ADS-C CDP separation distance (greater than 15-nm), display the ADS-C CDP conflict probe results to a controller and build an uplink clearance message to the ADS-C CDP requesting aircraft and an uplink traffic advisory message to the blocking aircraft.

In Development

ADS-B Oceanic ITP and Automation
Similar to the ADS-C CDP concept, ADS-B ITP will enable aircraft equipped with ADS-B and appropriate on-board automation to climb and descend through altitudes where current non-ADS-B separation standards would prevent desired altitude changes. With this procedure, the aircraft desiring to climb or descend (the maneuvering aircraft) obtains flight identification, altitude, position and ground speed transmitted by proximate ADS-B-equipped non-maneuvering (reference) aircraft. The maneuvering aircraft must therefore be equipped with ADS-B In capability and an appropriate onboard decision-support system, both of which would have to be certified for this application. The reference aircraft is required to have ADS-B Out capability (the maneuvering aircraft should also have ADS-B Out to serve as a reference aircraft for other aircraft). The ADS-B signal can be received by aircraft equipped with ADS-B In and by ground stations providing information to ground stations and other aircraft. The pilot of the aircraft desiring a maneuver uses the ADS-B information received to determine if the ITP criteria have been met before requesting the maneuver.

The FAA is conducting an operational trial of ADS-B ITP along South Pacific routes with migration to other oceanic regions. During this operational trial, the ADS-B ITP criteria will be manually checked by the controllers using current Oceanic Automation System tools. The FAA has formed a contractual partnership that is focused on the next steps necessary to conduct this operational trial. These steps include but are not limited to development and certification of onboard systems that provide the ADS-B ITP criteria and display that information to the pilot.

If the operational trial of manual ADS-B ITP is successful, the ground system may be updated to better support ADS-B ITP. The operational trials will help determine what should be automated, e.g., aircraft eligibility checks, and what information should be displayed to controllers.

2 OI 102137: Automation Support for Separation Management
ANSP automation provides the controller with tools to manage aircraft separation in a mixed navigation and wake performance environment.

Task Force: Overarching

In Concept Exploration

Approval of User Requests and Resolving Conflicts with Efficient Maneuvers in En Route Airspace
Probed menus will be integrated on the en route radar and the data consoles. Integrating this capability into the consoles assists radar controllers in determining possible problem-free flight plan changes without having to use the data consoles to create trial plans. A controller will also be able to use this capability to simultaneously examine the problem status of a set of possible clearances. The problem status for each of these trial plans is presented in the following menus:

  • Route (for each downstream route fix)
  • Altitude (for a range of altitudes around the filed altitude)
  • Speed (a range of speeds around the trajectory speed)

This capability allows the controller to gauge quickly whether user requests can be granted and to provide the least disruptive maneuvers to resolve detected problems.

In Concept Exploration

Electronic Flight Data for Non-Surveillance Airspace
This capability will provide automation support to controllers for flights in airspace without radar or ADS-B coverage, and for aircraft in this non-radar airspace that are not ADS-B equipped. This capability will utilize electronic flight data, eliminating the need for paper flight strips. The automation will distinguish non-surveillance flights on the display.

Paper flight strips will be eliminated because all the capabilities available from the paper-based system will be provided by electronic flight data or other display views. The automation will be enhanced to take advantage of new information sharing capabilities such as display of critical information to the controller, who can display additional information when needed, and collapse data when not needed.

The automation will also be enhanced to accept Aircraft List flight data notations, including non-radar symbology, entered by the controller for use in all sector displays.

In Concept Exploration

Wake Turbulence Alerts for En Route Controllers
The use of 3-nm separation in en route airspace is being expanded based on the current procedures for using 3-nm separation because En Route Automation Modernization can accommodate additional radar inputs and the redesign of airspace being accomplished in the optimization of airspace and procedures in the metroplex. En route conflict alert will be enhanced to support wake turbulence separation requirements in 3-nm separation areas and transition airspace. The introduction of variable separation standards may result in circumstances where wake separation becomes the driver for safe separation. Providing a wake turbulence separation indicator will benefit the controller by enhancing situational awareness, helping the controller to maintain awareness of wake turbulence separation requirements for any given aircraft pair in an effort to reduce operational errors, and avoiding the occurrence of wake encounter incidents.

Wake separation standards are integrated with problem detection to better ensure that wake separation is accounted for in specific operational conditions. The introduction of various separation standards applicable to the special classes of aircraft expected in the NAS, e.g., the Airbus 380, will increase the complexity of the traffic. Planning for reduced separation in the 3-nm airspaces will enhance throughput into terminal areas.

En route conflict alert will be enhanced to support wake vortex separation requirements in 3-nm separation areas and transition airspace. Problem detection and trial planning capabilities also will be enhanced to support aircraft-to-aircraft alerts in 3-nm separation areas and transition airspace, to include alerts based on wake vortex separation requirements. Sectors that contain tactical airspace (sectors where 3-nm separation is likely to be used and transition airspace) have traditionally been the areas where problem detection was inhibited. Problem detection will be enhanced to support areas where procedures and surveillance accuracy allow reduced separation in en route airspace. These enhancements will support separation management in more tactical areas of air traffic control, areas where wake vortex separation will need to be applied.

Available (at least one site)

ATPA is an air traffic control automation tool that provides situational awareness and alerts to controllers on CARTS color displays and on STARS displays. ATPA provides decision support information to controllers to make spacing adjustments needed to safely achieve optimal final approach spacing and efficiency, and alerts controllers when compression between subsequent aircraft is likely to result in unsafe separation.

Task Force: Achieving Existing 3- and 5-mile Separation Standards (OA-1)

3 OI 102154: Wake Re-Categorization
Legacy wake separation categories are updated based on analysis of wake generation, wake decay and encounter effects for representative aircraft.
In Development

Wake Re-Categorization Phase 1 � Aircraft Re-Categorization
Wake re-categorization is a joint effort between the FAA and the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation that identifies changes to the International Civil Aviation Organization aircraft weight categories for improved throughput at capacity-constrained, high-density airports while maintaining or improving wake safety. New wake turbulence categories have been proposed that more accurately group like aircraft based on their wake turbulence characteristics, resulting in closer longitudinal separation for certain aircraft types without sacrificing safety. The re-categorization will require document changes to reflect the new separation standards.

Page Last Modified: 09/05/13 09:48 EDT

This page can be viewed online at: http://origin.www.faa.gov/nextgen/implementation/appendixB/portfolios/sm/