TERMINAL FLIGHT DATA MANAGER (TFDM)
Aaron Rose is the Article 114 Representative for TFDM.
Background: TFDM will provide improvements to flight data coordination and management for ATCT users, as well as enhanced surface traffic flow management capabilities. TFDM will replace ATCT paper flight strips with electronic flight strips, provide automation for electronic flight and airport data management, and interface with other NAS systems to share electronic flight data. In addition, TFDM will provide a suite of capabilities designed to improve traffic flow management including new surface scheduling capabilities, runway load balancing, and will provide surface traffic visualization tools, and traffic flow metrics. TFDM is also tasked with replacing prototype systems; Airspace Technology Demonstration (ATD-2) and Advanced Electronic Flight Strips (AEFS). Departure Spacing Program (DSP), Airport Resource Management Tool (ARMT), and Electronic Flight Strip Transfer System (EFSTS) are being replaced by Terminal Flight Data Manager as well.
The TFDM program continues to be delayed due to COVID since the pandemic started. Access to facilities which include the William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) have been off limits to TFDM. Testing, deployment activities, and training have all ceased. The March dry run for OT&E has been canceled. The four-week OT&E scheduled for April and May is canceled. The Phoenix (PHX) Initial Operational Capability (IOC) has been moved to March of 2022. With any more delays to travel that date could be in jeopardy as well. In addition, other programs that TFDM needs to rely on for deployment such as FDIO have been delayed as well. This impacted our second site on the waterfall, CLE. TFDM has coordinated with IND to become the second site and a key site as well.
Aircraft capabilities and a way to present them if needed on EFS or SMN was presented by Mark Ostronic (NATCA ART114 Rep Requirements) to the TFDM Ops team for evaluation. A small group has officially reviewed the requirements through a use case (UC). The team decided to indicate only on the EFS a plus symbol behind the aircraft type to indicate CAS capable aircraft. This has now been forwarded to the vendor for development costs and build assignment when the time comes.
TFMS’s (Traffic Flow Management System) future moving forward with new builds is now at a complete stop, TFDM has reached out to facilities utilizing ARMT and DSP to ensure we find avenues to subsume these tools. In addition, the TFMS feed into the WJHTC TFDM lab is on hold and effects testing.
One of the main reasons for deploying TFDM to 89 sites was to help replace redundant and aging systems with 21st century technology. The dependence on other programs is unbelievable to make this system compatible and move us into the new millennia. TBFM, TDLS, TFMS, STARS, FDIO, and ASDE-X/ASSC to name a few. TFDM through software needs to communicate either one-way or both ways between each of these systems flawlessly for it to work. TFDM and the other programs need to get back to the tech center, testing and evaluation needs to begin immediately to keep us on an already delayed timeline.
Testing is all virtual. The team has not been able to get consistent time over the last six months. From April 12 through May 7 the NATCA TFDM team will utilize the test string in New Jersey as a familiarization period. Each workgroup is allotted time to utilize the system to review test scripts, adaptation, and training.
Training is constrained at the tech center for all SMEs due to COVID. The team is looking at options of where we can train up to 8 folks at a time like in 2019. With social distancing restrictions, we have been cut in half and can accommodate only 3 or 4 students at a time. We are exploring expanding the current facility or moving to a new facility to provide room for more students.