The TPC, located at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, provides information processing support for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) traffic management personnel as they coordinate the use of the National Airspace System (NAS) and respond to conditions of excess demand. The Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS) receives information on planned and active flights, generates forecasts of demand from current time to several hours ahead presents this information to Traffic Management Personnel, and provides automation support for the traffic management initiatives to resolve or ameliorate congestion. TFMS provides information to other Air Traffic Organization (ATO) automation systems, Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) users, Flight Operations Center (FOCs): e.g., Airline Operations Centers (AOC), and other consumers of Traffic Flow Management (TFM) data. TFMS supports advanced planning for anticipated adverse or restrictive conditions. It supports post-event analysis and evaluation of actions taken. TFMS archives the information it receives and generates, making it available for researchers and developers. It collects and distributes metrics on the use of the NAS and the contribution of ATO to air traffic efficiency and effectiveness.
TFMS provides the forecasted demand for airports and Flow Evaluation Area / Flow Constrained Areas (FEA/FCA) to the FAA and the airlines in an Aggregate Demand List (ADL), which is read by Flight Schedule Monitor (FSM),
and then used by CDM participants to monitor and analyze the data on future airport demand. The FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center uses this data to implement delay programs.
The TPC houses both the operational system (TFMS-Core) as well as a CDM TFMS Auxiliary Platform (TAP) used for CDM prototype and testing operations. A TAP is like the operational TFMS-Core
configuration, however with less hardware requirements. The TAP receives the same operational data as the TPC-Core, including the airline schedule data from the Official Airline Guide (OAG), the NAS flight data messages, and real-time schedule updates from the airlines. In addition the TAP provides the same CDM data interfaces and data the TPC-Core, such as ADLs and ASDI.
TFMS receives airline schedule data from the Official Airline Guide (OAG). The airline schedule data is loaded into the system twenty four hours before a flight is scheduled departure. TFMS also receive NAS messages such as a flight plan (FZ), flight plan cancel (RZ), departure (DZ), position update (TZ), and arrival (AZ). The demand predictions are updated when any of these messages is received.
In addition, the TFMS receives real-time schedule updates from the airlines. These messages inform the TFMS when a flight is delayed, canceled, or created, information which usually does not appear in the operational system. Some airlines send these messages over the ARINC teletype network, while others send them over CDMnet. When these messages are received they are incorporated into the ADLs. Features of the ADLs include:
- Each ADL contains information on the flights arriving and departing from an airport, or entering into and departing from an FEA/FCA
- An updated ADL for an airport or FEA/FCA is generated and sent every five minutes.
- Each airline and FAA facility can register to receive ADLs for whatever airports or FEA/FCA it is interested in.
- An ADL is the data input for FSM.
- ADLs are sent to CDM users over CDMnet.
When an imbalance exists, traffic managers at the Command Center use FSM to define a ground delay program (GDP) for an airport or airspace flow (AFP) program for a FEA/FCA; FSM then sends that program to TFMS, and it is included in subsequent ADLs for that airport or FEA/FCA.
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