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SURVEILLANCE BROADCAST SERVICES (SBS) OFFICE

Dan Hamilton (SFO) is the Article 114 Representative to the SBS Office.  

Background:  The Surveillance and Broadcast Services (SBS) program was created to manage a program that will enable the air traffic control (ATC) system to migrate from one that relies on radar technology to a system that uses precise location data from the global positioning satellite network. An enabler of this evolution is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology. With this technology, both controllers and pilots will see radar-like displays of highly accurate traffic data. The system will also provide pilots access to weather services, terrain maps, flight information services as well as traffic information for better situational awareness.    

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B)   

Terminal Fusion 

Andrew Stachowiak is the NATCA Article 114 ADS-B Terminal Fusion Representative / SME.  

Background: The Fusion Focus Group continues to track and resolve facility reported issues with Fusion generated from the 155 terminal sites. These discrepancies are mitigated by experts from all of the software and hardware fields. Please report any issues to your OSF and our NATCA SBS group for assistance. It is critical that actual data is recorded for evaluation and proper resolution. 

DVT requested relief from an automation change that cluttered their display using unassociated tracks while in the VFR pattern. DVT wants their limited data blocks to display just speed and altitude like they were able to do before. Kyle Ness (NATCA TAMR Lead) investigated the adaptation settings DVT was using and discovered the issue and came up with a solution. Coordinating with the Denver OSF, Phoneix Tracon (P50), and Deer Valley Tracon (DVT) will happen sometime in the future. Update: DVT spoke with P50 and discovered they were able to accommodate DVTs automation pref. 

STS requested relief from a lack of surveillance below 3,000ft. This VFR Tower has approach control service from Oakland Center (ZOA), but an old feed to their TDW from Northern California TRACON (NCT). Kyle Ness (NATCA TAMR Lead) investigated the adaptation settings STS was using and reviewed how NCT affected their TDW. Coordination with the Pacific OSF, NCT, and STS will happen sometime in the future. 

ASDE-X surface radios were added to the SV/CTV’s of D21, MSP, and I90. These additional ADS-B ground stations will help each facility with redundancy, if any other ADS-B ground station fails, and resiliency, with line of site issues through downtown close-in to the airport.          

Radar Divestiture  

Andrew Stachowiak is the NATCA Article 114 Radar Divestiture Representative / SME. 

Background:  Over two years ago, the NATCA SBS team started a collaboration with the agency in efforts to optimize the NAS. The implementation of ADS-B as the preferred surveillance source for the Fusion Tracker, created the opportunity to modify our radar infrastructure. The SPA (Surveillance Portfolio Analysis) work group performed an extensive inventory analysis report for all of the radar sources in the FAA. The program’s mission is to capitalize on the benefits of new surveillance technologies by strategically reshaping our radar infrastructure to gain efficiencies and optimize services for air traffic control (ATC) operations today and into the future. This will be a long and completely transparent process involving data gathering, expert analysis, local facility coordination, and a safety panel for each proposed radar removal. In some situations, additional radar feeds could be added to enhance surveillance. As this program matures, activities and other information will be updated here.   

Radar Divestiture Activities include: weekly meetings for Team, SME, Technical Analysis, Communications and Leadership. On most occasions we meet through a Zoom or GoTo format to virtually look at data and or review material that covers every facet of the work group. We are presenting monthly updates to the PMO during their Program Management Review meeting. We are collectively analyzing data and sharing information. We are virtually reviewing kick off and safety panel information. We are not contacting any facility directly for the remainder of calendar year 2020 due to Covid-19.  

Good News! The Radar Divestiture Program website page is now live via the following link: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/radardivestiture 

Track-Based Display Mode (TBDM):  

Andrew Stachowiak is the NATCA Article 114 TBDM Representative / SME.  

Background: Track Based Display Mode (TBDM) is a new display mode in ERAM. TBDM makes ADS-B the preferred sensor and provides controllers using ERAM with smoothed track positions rather than last-reported or extrapolated target positions Smoothed track positions are displayed in sync with the preferred radar sweep (4.6 or 12 secs); use of the smoothed track position maximizes display accuracy. Reports from 0 to 8 radars along with ADS-B can be fused to form a single aircraft track. TBDM provides no changes to target/track symbology and the display update rate remains the same. TBDM enables the use of ADS-B as the preferred surveillance source to support 3NM Separation no longer limited to 3NM separation based on distance from a radar sensor. ADS-B will backfill Radar Cones of Silence and airspace beyond the distance and site limitations of existing SRRs and LRRs. New SBS Validation capabilities support significant future expansion of 3NM validation and separation anywhere in EnRoute Airspace at or below FL230 with validated ADS-B targets to the 3 NM Terminal service volume validation threshold. The TBDM adaptation changes coming out of a successful key site operation (Seattle Center (ZSE)/ Boston Center (ZBW), determined that the adaptation changes would be (nearly) transparent to the Controller workforce. Therefore, based on that Key site testing information, AJV-P approved NAS-wide Notices permitting the use of ADS-B for 3NM separation when operating in TBDM. An ADS-B validation build deployed at ZSE on Mar 17th. SBS completed coverage plots showing where validated ADS-B may be used for 3NM separation. ZSE may expand 3NM operations using ADS-B in accordance with N JO 7110.773 and N JO 7210.920. SBS validation capabilities support the expansion of 3NM separation in ZSE airspace (CTV-2018). L3Harris deployed a validation build to RCS15 (ZSE) on Mar 17th. This build allows 3NM separation throughout overlapped ADS-B radio station coverage. ERAM adaptation changes required for expanded 3NM polygons are no longer a limitation based on distance from a radar sensor.  

Covid-19 mitigation put on-hold the future roll-out plan of TBDM and the 3nm airspace expansion project. Several teleconferences have been accomplished to organize a powerpoint presentation that the workgroup will review for future use at kick off meetings. New ADS-B coverage maps, developed by Regulus support, were shared with our ZSE / ZBW TBDM key sites. Covid-19 mitigation also put on-hold planning for the expansion of designated 3nm separation areas. Special permission was given by the PMO and ERAW group to reach out to ZID and ZMA regarding the possibility of having a planning meeting to implement TBDM. ZID was briefed on October 26 and they will get back to us after local management and Natca collaborate further. ZMA was briefed on October 30 and again on November 5. ZMA will transition to TBDM prior to the next SBA (Space-Based ADS-B) SRM Panel projected during the 2nd quarter of FY21. This allows the SBA Safety Case to be re-baselined with TBDM rather than SBDM. ZMA will get back to us with operational transition dates soon.   

ADS-B Avionics Issues 

Andrew Stachowiak is the NATCA Article 114 ADS-B avionics issues SME.  

NATCA SBS continues to work with the Agency toward a more proactive approach to ADS-B  avionics issues that result in position error. These issues occur when standards for installation  or configuration within aircraft or ground systems are not met. ADS-B is a cooperative  surveillance source relying on position accuracy determined onboard the aircraft. Controllers  and facilities are encouraged to report any identified events through ATSAP and via automation  trouble reports. Issues with the uAvionix SkyBeacon wingtip mounted ADS-B unit used for  general aviation aircraft are still being worked along with AVS (flight standards) and AIR (flight  certification) in efforts to correct these issues. A quad zero automation test is in the works. There have been some recent flight planning routes exchanged that will involve a flight check of this uAvionix transponder issue in and or near the Houston Tracon airspace. Update: a volunteer aircraft that was to be used for this flight test is now unavailable. We are pursuing other options.  

Surface Surveillance 

Dan Hamilton, SBS Lead Rep 

Surface Surveillance encompasses ASDE-X and ASSC. Programs falling under this category include SMR Infrastructure SLEP (Service life extension program,) SMR SLEP, SMR Replacement, MLAT Divestiture, Baseline merge and any other program impacting our surface surveillance platforms 

Activities: 

Data analysis continues as the team attempts to decide if MLAT Divestiture is achievable. It is the hope to have an answer sometime early next year. In parallel, baseline merge and SLEP meetings continue as we focus on Sustainment of the surface surveillance systems infrastructure in the NAS.  

Space Based ADS-B (ASEPS)  

Dan Hamilton, SBS Lead Rep. 

Background:  With the terrestrial ADS-B platform fully deployed, the focus has turned to areas where surveillance is more difficult to achieve. Space Based ADS-B (SBA) utilizes low orbiting satellites to track aircraft that are ADS-B 1090ES Equipped. SBA provides updates every second, much like FUSION in STARS. SBA provides all the data controllers currently see on all platforms. It is also possible to gain additional data such as selected altitude. The team has been working with ZMA as they are the key site for operational evaluation in the Caribbean. As work in ZMA progresses, the team is also working with the ATOP team in the development of future concepts for SBA in the oceanic environment. Future concepts include work with New York Center (ZNY), Anchorage Center (ZAN) and Oakland Center (ZOA).  

Activities:  

Miami Center (ZMA) has done a tremendous job working with the SBA team. They have gathered countless hours of data in this 1+  year evaluation period. Although data analysis continues, the program has reached a point where there needs to be a determination made by the agency if SBA is meeting the update rate requirements used for 5mile separation in the caribbean region. This may sound like a yes or no answer, but there are other lingering questions that factor into this larger question that needs to be addressed. Telcons and discussions will continue as the team closes in on the final report for this operational evaluation.  

Interval Management   

Tom Zarick is the NATCA Article 114 Interval Management Representative 

Chris Aymond is the Interval Management SME for Terminal 

Background:   Interval Management, or IM, combines ground-based and flight-deck systems to provide precise inter-aircraft spacing between aircraft, providing air traffic with another tool to manage traffic flows. The objective of the IM application is to achieve and/or maintain an assigned spacing goal (ASG) between the IM aircraft and the ATC-designated aircraft by having the pilot follow speed commands generated by the flight deck avionics. The ASG is provided by the controller and may be given in time or distance.   

ADSB-In Retrofit Solution (AIRS)   

Background:  AIRS is an application within the Interval Management domain that the Agency and American Airlines are engaged in an effort to promote the benefits and viability of ADSB-In.  

The deployment strategy for IM will consist of three phases. The first phase or Phase 1, (similar to the AIRS concept) will consist of a subset of the IM functionality which will be limited to the same runway operations. Phase 2 will introduce more complex IM operations utilizing more of the flight deck avionics that adds functionality for Dependent Staggered Approaches (DSA) and Dependent Converging and Crossing Runways (DCCR). Phase 3 will introduce advanced IM capabilities that will be deployed to only a handful of facilities due to its limited benefits.  

Updates and Upcoming Activities:  

  • American Airlines equipage status currently stands at 13 completed and 4 undergoing the upgrade as of November 6th.  Five new activations are planned for November.  The end of year estimate is still 20 completed activations.  
  • Engineering Flight Test for the A321 NEO aircraft now scheduled for December 5. The STC Flight Test scheduled for January.  These flights are required to certify the ADS-B In avionics on that particular airframe.   
  • Meetings are still taking place with the TBFM Program Office to discuss the requirements levied on TBFM in support of IM.  These will likely continue until the end of December. 
  • The SBS office briefed the National User Team on the discrepancies list pulled from the ERAM IM Use Case document.  The Use Case team will likely re-open the document for review and discussion on the areas that were addressed.   
  • Meetings with Raytheon and the STARS team are still on-going for thinspec review of Phase 1 Interval Management. 

Vehicle ADS-B  

Dan Hamilton, SBS Lead Rep.  

Background:  Vehicle ADS-B is a program that equips vehicles with transponders so they will be visible not only by air traffic but also by airport operators. Aircraft that have ADS-B IN can also see vehicles on the flight deck. This program greatly increases safety and situational awareness in the field.  Although vehicle equipage is not currently mandated, it is very much encouraged. The team that handles ASDE-X and ASSC also cover this program. There are currently 1775 vehicles equipped at 26 airports. PDX, IAD, and DCA are the latest airports to join in equipping.  

Activities: 20 vehicles were equipped at TRK (Truckee Tahoe airport) Bringing the total number of equipped vehicles in the NAS to 1970. The team continues to work updating the AC (Advisory Circular) due to lessons learned throughout the life of the program thus far.