D.C. Metroplex Project Provides Unique Collaboration
Thursday, September 22, 2011

“This truly was one of the best efforts of collaboration,” said Dave Perkins, co-leader of the D.C. Metroplex Design and Implementation Team that worked with the FAA on a project to design a series of new fix points and an arrival route leading into DCA; a project that turned into the aviation community’s own 9/11 memorial.

Named “Freedom One Arrival” (FRDMM ONE RNAV), the route will include more than 20 fixes with designations that refer to 9/11, honoring the memory of those we lost.

Members of the D.C. Metroplex Design and Implementation Team created the concept of the Freedom One Arrival and the fixes. The collaborative team is co-led by our brother Bennie Hutto, NATCA Article 48 Design and Implementation Representative and Potomac TRACON VP and Perkins, FAA program manager for Airspace Redesign at ZDC.

Other members of the team include Matt Sullivan, Potomac TRACON FacRep and subject matter experts from ZDC, PCT, and the aviation industry, along with technical experts from FAA headquarters, the Eastern Service Center and MITRE.

The Design and Implementation Team, which began work on the D.C. Metroplex project in June, completed the initial route design and the list of recommended fix designations the week before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

As the team designed the route, a team member came in one morning, and with 9/11 coming up, suggested naming the fixes in a way that would memorialize the route for the community, such as, “We will never forget”. Another team member suggested the name Freedom One, again with 9/11 in mind, and the concept grew from there.

Dave and Bennie thought it was a great idea, so Dave sat down and wrote an email that was quickly forwarded “up the food chain.” Within a week, the team had over 20 fixes named.

“The entire team unanimously approved the recommendations in a matter of minutes," said Hutto.

Sullivan said, “I’ve been at Potomac for nine years and this is the biggest and most aggressive move I’ve seen us make. It’s not just one side -- it’s everyone working together.”

The fixes on the northern portion of the arrival route include COURG, USAAY, MORAL, PLEDG, WEEEE, WILLL, NEVVR, FORGT and SEP11. Fixes on the southern portion of the arrival route include: RANJR, SEALZ, JARHD, PJAAE, GLORY, WEEDU, SUPRT, OOURR, TROPS and FRDMM. This arrival route will allow aircraft to transition to either Runway 19 or Runway 1 at a fix called LETZZ; Runway 19 transition fixes include LETZZ, STAND, TGTHR and PNTGN. Runway 1 transition fixes will include LETZZ, ROLLL, VCTRY and HEROE.

The team did not start the project with the intention of making it a memorial. Their only intention was to design the project in a way that would implement the recommendations from a study team to improve the optimization of airspace throughout the NAS and save the airlines fuel costs by reducing flying miles throughout the 21 identified metroplex locations.

“We’re all trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. It’s issue-driven as to how we can provide a better service and better efficiency of the system. We’re all shooting for the same goal and along the way, things like this get created,” said Perkins.

The new approach is expected to be in use by Sept. 11, 2012.