2.3A Making Departure Management Weather Impact Models Airspace-adaptable: Adapting the New York Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT) to Chicago Departure Airspace∗

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 11:30 AM
310 (Washington State Convention Center)
Richard DeLaura, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA; and M. Robinson and N. Underhill
Manuscript (1.2 MB)

The Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT) operational prototype was deployed to Chicago in the summer of 2010, the first RAPT deployment outside of the New York departure airspace for which it was originally developed. In addition to the routine aspects of site adaptation (e.g., defining site-specific algorithm inputs such as departure route trajectories), the deployment offered an opportunity to test several more fundamental elements of RAPT: weather impact estimation algorithms, models for departure operations, and concept of operations. Since Chicago airspace, departure management practices, and prevailing convective weather patterns differ so markedly from those in New York, the Chicago RAPT deployment provided an opportunity to evaluate the adaptability of RAPT's departure management and weather impact models to different terminal areas throughout the NAS. This paper presents the results of a summer-long evaluation of the Chicago RAPT operational prototype. The evaluation included observations made by researchers simultaneously stationed at O'Hare terminal (ORD), the Chicago TRACON (C90), and the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU ARTCC) during several days of convective weather impact. Air traffic data from the Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) were analyzed and compared to RAPT blockage status forecasts to determine the suitability of RAPT guidance to Chicago departure operations. Forecast RAPT route status was compared to ‘true' RAPT route status (blockage based on actual, not forecast weather) to determine the accuracy of the RAPT blockage forecast. Finally, differences between RAPT performance in Chicago and New York were analyzed to identify issues in the weather forecast inputs, the RAPT blockage and operational models, and the concept of operations that must be addressed in order to ensure that RAPT can provide consistent and effective departure management guidance in different terminal areas.

________________________________________________ ∗This work was sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Air Force Contract FA8721-05-C-0002. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner