National Airspace Initiatives
Established on Required Navigation Performance (EoR)
Performance-Based Navigation (PBN)
Josh Haviland is the Article 114 National Airspace Rep, Article 114 National EoR Rep, and Article 114 PBN Co-Lead for the Western Service Area Operations Support Group.
EoR Background: Required Navigation Performance (RNP) describes an aircraft’s capability to navigate using certain performance standards. When an aircraft is “RNP equipped”, it can monitor the aircraft’s flight track conformance and alert pilots when area navigation performance that cannot be met. The typical RNP conformance requirement for an RNAV (RNP) instrument approach procedure is 0.3 nautical miles from the centerline of the final approach course.
Unlike vectoring an aircraft to the extended runway centerline for an approach, once established on an RNP approach on the downwind or a base segment, controllers can allow an aircraft to turn to final without providing a minimum of 1000 feet vertical or 3 miles radar separation from aircraft established on an approach to a parallel runway. Application of EoR is available to airports having independent operations with the following runway configurations: Parallel Dual – Runways between 3600 and 9000 feet separated for dual operations; Parallel Triple – Runways between 3900 and 9000 feet apart; Parallel Widely-Spaced – Runways greater than 9000 feet apart. Weekly core group meetings are still ongoing, which include discussions on data collection and analysis and continuing research for optimizing EoR operations throughout the NAS.
Background: PBN Co-Leads are responsible for the oversight of designing, developing, and implementing PBN procedures and/or routes. Using a collaborative workgroup structure, PBN Co-Leads are also responsible for organizing workgroup activities and making every effort to reach an agreement through a group consensus. Each FAA Service Center is represented by an FAA and NATCA Co-Lead, except the Eastern Service Center, which has two sets of Co-Leads due to the high demand of PBN resources for ongoing national initiatives.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, correspondence with Air Traffic facilities and their Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) have been significantly curtailed. Routine team meetings, administrative tasks, and daily correspondence with Co-Leads is still ongoing. To resume a steady workflow, the team’s focus has shifted toward primarily addressing abbreviated Instrument Flight Procedure amendments and other less SME/resource-intensive PBN tasks.
Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) & Northeast Corridor (NEC) Airspace & Procedures
Bill Wise (ESC) is an Article 114 PBN Co-Lead for the Eastern Service Area Operations Support Group and the Article 114 Rep for NEC Airspace & Procedures.
Due to Covid-19, most of our team’s projects have been put on hold, and meetings with air traffic facilities have been canceled. Work is continuing on three major projects. Raleigh-Durham (RDU) was set for a May 21, 2020 publication with all the procedures in final development at AJV-A in Oklahoma City (OKC). We worked with RDU, Fayetteville FAY), Jacksonville Center (ZJX), Washington Center (ZDC) and the NEC ACR (see Joey’s report) project to adjust to a new tentative publication date of November 5, 2020. DCA/P56 project was scheduled for July 16, 2020 publication. The project designs are intended to reduce incursions of north departures off of DCA into the prohibited area around the District of Columbia (P56). The project is highly visible with possible litigation from Maryland, and congressional scrutiny from Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Because of national security concerns, we are working closely with the United States Secret Service (USSS), and after consultation have agreed to delay the publication/implementation until December 31, 2020. Activity continues for the VORMON and other initiatives in the NEC, which are discussed in my NEC report. We will continue to monitor and adjust the publication plan as necessary to meet facility requirements, as they begin to return to a normalized operation and training can resume.
NEC Airspace & Procedures
Background: The Airspace & Procedures representative in the NEC is responsible for the collaborative oversight, facilitation and integration of airspace, Performance Based Navigation (PBN), and conventional procedures, on the NEC. The NEC is defined as the area from Washington to Boston.
Many of the NEC activities have been suspended, as discussed in the PBN report until ATC facilities are back to normal operation. The NEC ACR project and all associated/connected projects are being monitored and publication dates will be adjusted as required (read Joey’s ESC PBN report). NEC projects at BWI, DCA, IAD, and VORMON work affecting ATC facilities is on hold, as reported last month. The four eastern Co-Leads are taking this time to work with MITRE, AJV, AJT, and the PMO to evaluate the complexities and workload associated with the VORMON in the NEC. The plan is to integrate all NEC work including VORMON, PBN, and conventional work to best utilize limited facility resources.
Daily NEC VORMON planning in meetings with MITRE for Washington, New York, and Boston districts.
Bi-Weekly VORMON telcons, NEC NIWG telcons
Ad hoc meetings with legal concerning litigation, environmental, roundtable, and congressional concerns at BWI and DCA
Weekly ESC FPT productions meeting with AJV-A, AFS, and
Flight Check to monitor and adjust publication dates
Performance-Based Navigation (PBN)
Joey Tinsley (ZTL) is an Article 114 PBN Co-Lead for Eastern Service Area Operations Support Group.
The ESC PBN Co-Leads are working on multiple projects to include VORMON, NEC ACR (Northeast Corridor Atlantic Coast Routes), CHS STARs/SIDs, NY Area STARs/SIDs, PHL STARs/SIDs, and BOS Massport. These projects are all moving at a very fast pace with most of them scheduled for publication within the next 8 months. We have 18 J-Routes being removed/modified on 7/16/20. These are still moving forward since the training is mostly a read and initial. The NEC ACR project has shifted a few procedure publications requiring more in-depth training to the right due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. The STARs and SIDs that were scheduled for publication over the next 3 months have been moved to November 5, 2020. The Q-Routes planned for implementation on November 5, 2020, are still on track, for now, knowing that if they are not published this year that it could be an entire year again until we have another opportunity.
The VORMON telcons are mostly involving how to tie-in STARs, SIDs, T-Routes, and Q-Routes across multiple Northeast facilities. These preliminary telcons will be very beneficial once we can meet with all the SMEs again.
The BOS Massport project has SIDs designed that are still awaiting the approval of the BOS CAC (Community Advisory Committee). The RA (Regional Administrator) is having weekly telcons with the CAC and if this group doesn’t sign off on these designs soon then they will not be published this year. This group has been made aware that if this design doesn’t publish, they will have to wait over a year for an alternate proposal.
We have canceled all in-person meetings through the end of May. A few meetings have been converted to virtual meetings, but for some large meetings (5+ facilities) this is impossible.
Upcoming Activities over the next month:
· Weekly telcons with BOS Massport project
· Weekly telcons with VORMON
· NEC ACR telcons and daily activities
PBN/Metroplex Design and Implementation
Ed Hulsey (ZFW) is the Article 114 PBN/Metroplex Design and Implementation Lead
Background: In late 2009, the aviation industry’s Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Task Force 5 published a report that included a key set of recommendations concerning the top priorities for the implementation of NextGen. In its report, RTCA advocated a collaborative approach to the development and optimization of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) procedures that result in measurable benefit. RTCA also recommended the integrated development of PBN procedures and airspace to deliver the most efficient operation. The FAA responded to these recommendations with the Metroplex initiative.
Metroplex provides an integrated, systematic, repeatable approach to the design and implementation of PBN procedures and associated airspace changes. Metroplex projects focus on a specific geographic area and the airspace, airports, and operations within that area. The primary goal of a Metroplex project is to increase operational efficiency and enable near-term operational benefits. Metroplex applies established criteria and processes to make use of existing aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC) capabilities. A key feature of Metroplex projects is the integration of PBN procedure and airspace design.
All ongoing Metroplex projects are currently working to meet project milestones with a Metroplex program funding termination (sunset) date of September 30, 2021. To date, the OAPM (Metroplex) MOU and current collaborative co-lead structure has remained unchanged.
The next Metroplex co-leads meeting is currently slated to be in Seattle on August 4-6, 2020 where the teams will share project updates and receive pertinent briefings from various initiatives and FAA LOBs relevant to the program.
The Denver Metroplex Core Working Group is still working with FAA environmental and legal specialists to determine the extent to which the team can address PBN procedure amendments during the post-implementation phase.
COVID-19 issues have also resulted in the delaying of the scheduled May 21, 2020 implementation of the Las Vegas Metroplex. Air traffic Services (AJT) is working on a white paper that explores the viability of a September 10, 2020 implementation date. An alternative implementation date will not be determined until there is more clarity regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the Las Vegas ATC facilities and Los Angeles ARTCC (ZLA).
COVID-19 impacts to the South-Central Florida Metroplex has resulted in a reworking of the vast community involvement/engagement efforts that are scheduled to begin via “virtual workshops” in the early June period. The draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Florida Metroplex was released on May 11, 2020 for public comment. The next Metroplex co-leads meeting is scheduled for August 4-6, 2020.
FAA Mission Support Services (AJV) has undergone an organizational restructure, which has slowed PBN single-site work. Due to the organizational restructure, the agency policy and strategy decisions now reside at the FAA HQ level while project execution belongs to the Service Centers. The Agency is working on a transition plan for moving the execution of the PBN process from HQ to each of the three service centers. While all governing orders and MOUs remain in effect and status quo, we are still working through the project execution issues that have arisen from the reorganization. COVID-19 issues have further slowed, and in most cases, halted PBN single-site work and those associated with the Northeast Corridor initiative (NEC) and VOR Minimal Operating Network (VOR MON) initiatives.
Mark Ostronic is the Article 114 Metroplex Co-Lead for the Denver Metroplex.
Background: The original Denver 2012 Area Navigation (RNAV) project was one of the first large-scale RNAV projects in the NAS. m NATCA and the FAA collaboratively decided to study if improvements could be made to the airspace and procedures after the 2012 RNAV project. After completing this study, it was determined that enough potential benefit could be gained to move forward with a Metroplex project in Denver.
· Prioritize Post-Implementation procedures and finalize designs
· Identify with environmental support and legal counsel extent of possible design changes
· Weekly teleconferences with the AJV-S32, Core Team, and POC’s
Christian Karns is the Article 114 Rep for Florida Metroplex.
Background: The Florida Metroplex is comprised of two major projects; design and implementation of new a new Q & Y route structure to replace existing J-Routes and design and implementation of new Standard Terminal Arrivals (STARs) and Standard Instrument Departures. (SIDS). Due to the projects’ complexity, separate timelines were established for implementation. Q/Y routes from San Juan airspace to Jacksonville ARTCC airspace followed by SIDs/STARs connectivity. Initial implementation of the Q/Y routes occurred in November 2018, followed by post-implementation amendments in January 2020.SIDs/STARs design was completed in July 2019 and are pending a phased implementation from April through August 2021. SID/STAR connectivity to the new en route structure will be available at Tampa International (TPA), Orlando International (MCO), West Palm Beach International (PBI), Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International (FLL), and Miami International (MIA) airports.
Las Vegas Metroplex
Chris Thomas (L30) is the Article 114 Metroplex Co-Lead for the Las Vegas Metroplex.
Background: The recommendation to include the Las Vegas area into a Metroplex was decided in a September 2009 Final Report from the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Task Force 5. The report identified McCarran Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas as a Core airport and provided recommendations to optimize the airspace and procedures around Las Vegas. Subsequently, In May 2012 an Operational Study Team (OST) was formed. In August of 2017, a Design and Implementation (D&I) team was formed to address identified operational and efficiency issues. Design work continued through February 2019. Since then the Las Vegas Metroplex has been working through the Evaluation and Implementation phases of the project. The original implementation date was May 21, 2019. This date is currently on hold due to COVID-19.
The Metroplex Co-Leads have been working with the Environmental Contractor to finalize our Environmental Assessment. The original date for submittal was May 18, 2020. However, after consulting the Clark County Department of Aviation we have decided to delay our Final EA by 3 weeks to allow them time to brief local politicians in the area. I will update further if needed. This delay should not affect our future implementation date once decided.
Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) Criteria
Bennie Hutto (PCT) is the Article 114 National PBN Criteria Rep to ATO Enterprise & Strategy Planning (AJV-S) and Rules and Regulation (AJV-P2).
Standard Instrument Departure Criteria WG: We have been meeting weekly over the past several months discussing concerns raised by both ATO and Industry regarding when an aircraft is considered on or off a Standard Instrument Departure (SID). These discussions get very in-depth going over the various Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) as well as the TERPS criteria and air traffic control rules and responsibilities. At this time, we are now ensuring what has been discussed and the road traveled is covered correctly throughout the various documents (Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Instrument Procedures Handbook (IPH), FAAO 8260.3 (United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures), FAA 8260.46 (Departure Procedure Program), and FAAO 8260.58 (United States Standard for Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) Instrument Procedure Design).
Performance-Based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) Navigation (NAV) WG: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our face-to-face meetings have been canceled and we conducting the meetings via video conference discussing the following:
Obstacle Evaluation Harmonization
We received a briefing from Tim Lovel (MITRE) regarding his analysis of what the impact would be on Lateral Navigation (LNAV)/Vertical Navigation (VNAV) and Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) procedures should they use the Required Navigation Performance (RNP) Authorization Required (AR) “cylinder method” of evaluating the Obstacle Clearance Surface (OCS) is continuing. Phase one should be complete in time for the May meeting, which uses a sampling of runway ends that we have previously used in assessing the new OCS method for RNP AR. All the associated obstacles will be changed to a fictitious height that is the obstacle height plus the additive of the vertical uncertainty after which the procedures will be analyzed for the impact on both visibility and altitude minimums. At that point, the Nav WG will determine whether the impact is small enough that phase two can begin, which would expand the analysis (same method) to the full NAS
Eligibility to conduct any RNP procedure with a Radius-to-Fix (RF)
We received a reminder from Barry Miller (FAA AIR) concerning the eligibility requirements for RF operations. The aircraft/avionics must be capable of coupled LNAV and VNAV, and it must be able to display the path including the RF on the Flight Management Computer (FMC) moving map. The data provider must screen out procedures with RF from databases intended for use in aircraft that do not meet the preceding two conditions.
RNAV (RNP) to RNAV (GPS) Conversion Analysis
We received a briefing from Nick Pettiet (MITRE) showing the results from his analysis work for Denver (KDEN) and Houston (KIAH) by converting the RNAV (RNP) AR procedures RNAV (GPS) with RF required while assessing the impact on minimums. This led to many questions, which will require further work because it may be best to convert the RNAV (RNP) AR procedures to Advanced RNP (A-RNP) instead of RNAV (GPS).
PARC Pilot Controller Procedures System Integration (PCPSI) WG
Within the PCPSI WG, a subgroup has been formed to see if phraseology can be harmonized with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The goal of the group is to select and prioritize tasks (issues), to include Performance-based Navigation (PBN) and Data Comm being the core work areas, including pilot-controller communication and coordination, and global harmonization of phraseology and procedures with the initial emphasis on the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This will be a lengthy process as we will not be making a change just to make a change. A thorough discussion and evaluation regarding the many variations of phraseology will occur to see if we keep the phraseology we currently use, change to ICAO, or even come up with phraseology that is different from both the FAA and ICAO. Before agreeing to any change, it will be presented and discussed with the NATCA Safety & Technology Leadership Council (NSTLC) to ensure it receives their approval.