Airspace /Established on Required Navigation Performance (EoR)
Josh Haviland is the Article 114 National Airspace Representative and Article 114 National EoR Representative.
Background: Required Navigation Performance (RNP) describes an aircraft’s capability to navigate using certain performance standards. When an aircraft is “RNP equipped”, it has the ability to 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.
Instrument Flight Procedure (IFP) Optimization: Weekly meetings with AJV-A (Aeronautical Information Services), Air Traffic HQ, and the FAA Service Centers are ongoing, with the immediate task of data collection and analysis. This objective of this collaborative effort is to reduce IFPs (SIDs, STARs, IAPs) not being used in throughout the NAS. Prior to coordination efforts being started with ATC facilities, several data points must be considered, especially the qualitative aspects that may not be obvious with usage analysis alone. The team is currently analyzing two separate focus areas to juxtapose IFPs indicating an overall low usage but may be needed due to uncommon ATC operations such as 7110.308 operations, facility LOAs, SOPs, etc.
EoR: Southern California TRACON recently submitted IFP Gateway Requests to amend several RNAV (RNP) IAPs in support of EoR operations. The requests are currently being processed by the Western Flight Procedures Team and Environmental Protections Specialists. In parallel, the FAA HQ NextGen office is providing any support necessary, as requested by either ATC or the Operations Support Group. The IAP amendments are currently expected to publish in late summer, with the anticipation of using EoR once published.
PBN/Metroplex Design and Implementation
Ed Hulsey is the Article 114 Representative for PBN/Metroplex Design and Implementation.
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 in order 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. The FAA’s Director of Airspace Services determines Metroplex site selection and prioritization with input from the stakeholder community.
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 (status quo) since the AJV reorganization. COVID-19 issues have resulted in the delaying of the Las Vegas Metroplex with NATCA and the agency agreeing to slip the implementation date to February 25, 2021. Workforce training for Las Vegas Metroplex is complete and external stakeholders have been briefed. The final EA FONSI/ROD for the Florida Metroplex was signed on October 15, 2020. The team is still on track for implementations in April and August 2021 as the affected facilities gear up to begin workforce training. The team has been meeting regularly with AFS to discuss criteria issues surrounding some of the procedures slotted for the April implementation. The team is currently meeting with the facilities to discuss a path forward with updating the procedures during post-implementation.
Due to the organizational restructure with AJV (FAA Mission Support Services), the agency policy and strategy decisions now reside at the FAA HQ level while project execution belongs to the Service Centers. The Agency has now implemented a transition plan for moving the authorizations and approvals of PBN projects 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 arose from the reorganization. COVID-19 issues have further slowed, and in most cases, halted PBN single-site work. Atlantic Coast Routes (ACR), Northeast Corridor initiative (NEC) and VOR Minimal Operating Network (VOR MON) initiatives have been identified as agency priorities and are moving forward while still recognizing facility resource constraints. Agency-wide re-prioritization of NAS initiatives/activities is still currently ongoing. NATCA participated in workgroup activities to review, evaluate, and assess current PBN and IFP processes and provided those recommendations to NATCA/FAA workgroup sponsors on December 15, 2020.
Eastern Service Center (ESC) Performance Based Navigation (PBN) & North East Corridor (NEC) Airspace and Procedure
Bill Wise is the Article 114 Representative for ESC PBN & NEC Airspace and Procedures.
Background: PBN Co-Leads are responsible for the oversight of designing, developing, and implementing PBN procedures and/or routes. Using a collaborative work group structure, PBN Co-Leads are also responsible for organizing work group activities and making every effort to reach agreement through a group consensus. Each FAA Service Center is represented by an FAA and NATCA Co-Lead, with the exception of the Eastern Service Center, which has two sets of Co-Leads due to the high demand of PBN resources for ongoing national initiatives.
The SIDs at Washington National (DCA) were modified to help reduce incursions into P-56 and the STARs at Washington Dulles (IAD) were amended to solve coding issues that allowed some aircraft to descend below their assigned altitude. We are currently working post implementation and all indication are we have been successful with both DCA and IAD projects.
The Raleigh Durham (RDU) project is set for Publication on Feb 25, 2021. All procedures at RDU are being updated. We don’t anticipate any problems but will have standard publication day check-ins with the facilities and Industry to help resolve issues that arise.
We are working with Facility POCs to schedule FWG meetings at Baltimore Washington (BWI) and New York Tracon (N90). Both projects are intended to help with Safety, Noise and VORMON Navaid discontinuance. The N90 project is the beginning of an estimated 6 years of work to discontinue 24 Navaids on the VORMON list that impact approximately 90% of air traffic procedures at EWR, JFK and LGA.
Central Service Center (CSC) Performance Based Navigation (PBN)
Eric Johnson is the Article 114 Representative for CSC PBN.
I participated in a meeting on 1/25 is relation to adding RNAV missed approaches to ILS procedures. This concept has created issues at SDF and will continue to be an issue within the NAS. I engaged with Bennie Hutto on the issue, and he is now involved as well to use criteria to mitigate the issue. The CSA PBN team met with Dallas Tracon (D10) and American Airlines (AAL) reference adding an RNP missed approach to the runway 13R ILS at DFW. This will be the first procedure of this type within the NAS. Bennie Hutto has been a part of this discussion to make sure all criteria is compliant. The addition of the RNP missed is to eventually allow for increased ops while operating under CRO.
Bridget Singratanakul and I met with Wichita (ICT) on 2/1 to discuss their plans for runway renumbering and the issue of the SIAPS not being amended in time. The current plan sounds like ICT will not renumber their runways at this time and will wait until the procedures are ready. CSA PBN conducted an all-day virtual design meeting on 2/10 with Kansas City Center (ZKC), Minneapolis Center (ZMP), and Kansas City (MCI) to work on finalizing the STAR’s and RNP’s for MCI. The procedures will all be finalized by April 28. I attended an ad hoc Class C airspace modification meeting on 2/18 for Midway (MDW) as a SME. The ad hoc committee has agreed upon a path forward to modify the Class C airspace to increase safety and contain aircraft on the RNP Y RWY22L. I had multiple conversations with industry, Chicago Tracon (C90), and the Rockford (RFD) FACREP to start discussing the options available to RFD and C90 to help with the increased traffic at RFD. I anticipate a project at RFD soon.
March 2, 2021 Meeting with Albuquerque Center (ZAB) and Albuquerque (ABQ) to address safety issues with RNP’s and STAR’s that were handed off from the WSA. March 30, 2021: Meeting with Chicago Center (ZAU) and C90 to modify STAR’s and RNP’s into MDW related to VORMON. April 5, 2021:
Meeting with Houston Center (ZHU), New Orleans (MSY), and Lafayette (LFT) to discuss needs relating to VORMON. April 8, 2021: Meeting with R90, SUX, ZKC, and ZMP to finalize STARs at OMA. April 28, 2021: Meeting with MCI, ZKC, and ZMP to finalize work on the MCI STAR project.
Eastern Service Center (ESC) PBN
Joey Tinsley is the Article 114 Representative for ESC PBN.
The ESC PBN Co-Leads are working on multiple projects to include VORMON, NEC ACR (Northeast Corridor Atlantic Coast Routes), Charleston (CHS) STARs/SIDs, NY Area STARs/SIDs, Philadelphia (PHL) STARs/SIDs, Portland (PWM) STARs and Boston (BOS) Massport. The CHS SIDs and STARs, along with a few NY area STARs are in post implementation with their amendments publishing on 8/12/21 and 10/7/21. Our bi-weekly telcons with the Facility POCs on the NEC ACR project continue. The remainder of the NEC ACR project has a tentative publication date in the fall of 2021. The main facilities (Boston Center (ZBW), New York Center (ZNY), and Washington Center (ZDC)) are in the process of redoing training plans and looking at facility needs to see if the fall 2021 pub dates are still possible post-Covid.
The ZBW VORMON project is in the implementation stage with some T-Routes that were published on 11/5/20. The remaining T-Routes and STARs for this cycle are being published on 6/17/21.
The Atlanta Center (ZTL) VORMON project is moving forward with scheduled meeting dates beginning at the end of March. We are planning on 3 weeks of meetings to accomplish the design work with proposed implementation dates beginning summer of 2022.
While updating the STARs into Portland (PWM) for VORMON removals it was realized that PWM has been having flyability issues on the CDOGG STAR. ZBW, Boston Tracon (A90) and PWM are working on a solution to resolve these issues and provide a better product to controllers and industry. The BOS Massport Block 1 SIDs received the approval from Massport (BOS Community Advisory Committee) and has a proposed implementation date of 12/2/21. Massport has also been working with our team on the Block 2 recommendations. Our team is meeting weekly with A90 on the concepts presented to see what works best for ATC. The official Block 2 recommendations are expected around April.
Western Service Center (WSC) Performance Based Navigation (PBN)
Chris Thomas is the Article 114 Representative for WSC PBN.
Last week the WSA received a briefing from individuals from Denver Center (ZDV) and Denver Tracon (D01) about an issue they are having with a procedure designed into Centennial (APA). This STAR (ZOMBZ5) has been developed by the Metroplex Team to implement during post implementation. The STAR has runway transitions for landing north or south. The issue is between the facilities to work out how this new procedure will be worked. ZDV doesn’t want to issue landing direction or landing runway for APA. D01 insists that ZDV should issue either landing runway or landing direction. I had a discussion with Bennie Hutto about what was going on and he gave some advice from his perspective. I met with members of both facilities multiple times last week to discuss options. At this time, the procedure is scheduled to implement in August 2021. ZDV and D01 have agreed to continue working the LOA issues out between the two facilities.
Oakland (OAK) – There has been a lot of attention recently over the HUSSH SID and WNDSR STAR from the Oakland Airport and surrounding communities. We have been working with leadership at the Western Service Area to address some of their concerns and to respond to a congressional inquiry. These procedures have been an issue for several months and will need to be worked in some type of Full Work Group with facility SMEs.
Alaska T-Routes – Work continues updating T-Routes in Alaska. We have been doing communication surveys on proposed routes. Delays in implementation will happen due to Flight Check restrictions. A Full Work Group meeting with Alaska facilities and area users was completed on Feb 18 & 19, 2021 to discuss the status of this project. Due to the remote areas and terrain throughout Alaska there are many areas where we had a tough time finding usable altitudes for new T-Routes. We may need to request some waivers for comm. in the future. We will know more after these meetings conclude.
Graceland VOR MON (ESA Project) – Derek and I have had several meetings with ESA representatives this past month concerning Graceland VOR MON project. We have tentatively agreed that we will have on official kick-off meeting the week of April 5, 2021. Coordination with facilities has begun. I still have several concerns about the purpose of starting this project. Currently we have support from the ESA Flight Procedures Team (FPT). However, there are many other projects going on in the ESA that will limit the amount of time they can help with this project. I believe that it will become increasingly difficult to schedule meetings due to the shared resources in the ESA and that will cause some delays to this project’s timeline.
Van Nuys (VNY) – We were asked by the WSA FPT Manager to work with air traffic to try to schedule a future meeting for VNY. VNY has several issues that have been left since the implementation of their Metroplex project. Coordination with facilities has started but we have not decided on a kick-off date yet. We are planning for a start date sometime prior to May 2021.
Christian Karns is the Article 114 Representative for Florida Metroplex.
Background: The Florida Metroplex project consist of two projects. One project is tasked with design and implementation of new Q & Y routes to replace existing J-Routes. The second project is the design and implementation of new Standard Terminal Arrivals (STARs) and Standard Instrument Departures. (SIDS) The intent for the STARs and SIDs is to make them Optimized Profile Descents (OPD) and Climb Via.
Held Facility TEAM Meetings for the following facilities to get weekly status updates. Fort Myers (RSW), Tampa (TPA), Miami Center (ZMA), Orlando (MCO), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Miami (MIA), Daytona Beach (DAB), West Palm Beach (PBI), Jacksonville Center and (ZJX), Jacksonville JAX. All are working on Automation and video maps. All training plans are completed. Work continues on all LOA’s with about 80% complete and sent up to Eastern Service Center for review. Requested I-SIM for FLL familiarization only. Completed questions requested by Congresswoman Wilson about Miami and the FOIA questions. Florida has 5 lawsuits filed. Held Meeting with ZJX District January 28, 2021 to determine if we could implement all 54 procedures or if we would need to NOTAM out 15 due to Training Lab restrictions. Based on discussion with the facilities, the decision was made to go with plan B, publish 54 procedures but implement 39 procedures. Held meeting with MIST and Second Level Engineering January 29, 2021 introduced the MIST and Second Level Engineering to F11 and will facilitate a meeting with ZJX in the next couple of weeks. Briefed Airport Authorities on January 29, 2021, it went well, and we were able to answer all questions. Briefed Director’s and the RA on Florida Metroplex with Publishing, all 54 procedures for April, but only implementing 39 of the procedures. Feb 1st – 5th T-Routes – T-208, T-210 and T-353 have been flight checked as satisfactory. Held several meetings with ZJX and ZMA to work on Pref Routings. All facilities continue to work towards completing LOA’s SOP, Maps, and automation for April Implementation. Met with each Facility individually for two hours plus throughout the week via Teams. Feb 8th-12th Continued weekly two-hour meetings with all 11 facilities. T-Routes – all have been flight checked. Held several meetings with ZJX and ZMA to work on Pref Routings. Working with Flight Check to try and get a more detailed schedule to provide to POCs for coordination. Was informed on Monday that flight check would not be able to complete all STAR’s and SID’s for April implementation. Vicki and I elevated to the District manager who insured they would be done in time. They now have committed 3 aircraft to complete the flight checks. On Tuesday was told none of the waivers or Letters of approval for the procedures would be approved and would require rework on affected procedures to be done. This issue was also elevated and due to time constraints, the letters and waivers will be approved and during post implementation, the procedures will be fixed. Bottom line is we will have our Tetra Tech contract support on our facility calls for the upcoming week to work on designing out of the request for a LOA or Waiver for Post Implementation. Feb 16th-19th. Continue to work and meet with all 11 facilities. Wes Googe from American Airlines began briefings on controller and pilot interactions with OPD’s and Climb Via clearances. Work with Orlando Approach (F11), TPA, MIA, and PBI on redesigns for LOA and waiver removals from new procedures.
Las Vegas Metroplex
Jeff Plendl is the Article 114 Representative for 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. Implementation date is currently scheduled for November 5, 2020.
We are 6 days from implementation. Training is complete. We have completed all of our briefings (Industry, NBAA, adjacent facilities, ATCSCC, HQ, WSC/WSA, and Flight Plan Filers). We have conducted a thorough review of the charting of the procedures and have submitted our change request. We just came to a resolution for the issues with the conventional SIDs. Overall, we are ready for implementation.