Implementing NextGen initiatives involves complex activities ranging from concept development to deployments of capabilities in the National Airspace System (NAS).
In October, air traffic controllers at the Chicago TRACON made the first operational use of an Area Navigation Required Navigation Performance (RNAV RNP) procedure that de-conflicted operations at Chicago�s O�Hare and Midway airports. The conflict occurs between arrivals to Runway 13C at Midway and departures from Runway 22L at O�Hare. During adverse weather conditions, O�Hare normally has to slow down its operations because the Midway 13C approaches interfere with the O�Hare 22L departures. Typically Runway 13C is only used for arrivals in certain weather conditions. Under these conditions, 22L departures have to be relocated to another runway for takeoff which results in a reduced arrival rate because these departures that would normally utilize runway 22L must taxi to one of the arrival runways, thus taking an arrival slot. This places O�Hare in a ground delay program, reducing its arrivals rate to 68 per hour from the normal rate of 92-112 arrivals per hour.
In this instance, however, the TRACON controllers put the RNAV RNP procedure into effect at Midway so that aircraft equipped for it could approach Runway 13C on a curved path and land without interfering with Runway 22L departures at O�Hare. The Midway tower strategically maneuvered equipped aircraft when they needed to share airspace with non-RNAV RNP aircraft that required the Midway runway 13C ILS approach. At O�Hare, departures operated from Runway 22L as they would in normal weather conditions, enabling O�Hare to maintain normal arrival rates at its other runways. As a result, O�Hare retained an arrival rate of 92 per hour. Neither airport incurred delays or lost capacity.
The Surface Trajectory-Based Operations team completed the first in a series of field evaluations at the Orlando International Airport (MCO) in late September. Earlier in the month, a Ground Metering Capability (GMC) algorithm and corresponding tower display were installed in the air traffic control tower at the existing MCO ground metering position. This position is usually activated during periods of high demand and/or reduced capacity typically associated with severe weather events. The GMC employs a prototype electronic flight strip display to enable real-time tracking of departing flight delay status and to provide notification of compliance with DOT departure standards. The GMC tool is a candidate for inclusion in the Terminal Flight Data Manager core capability that is being readied for an Initial Investment Decision in 2012.
In October, we published new satellite-based navigation procedures.
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