2.4 Adapting TFM to Changing Weather Conditions with the Collaborative Trajectory Option Program (CTOP)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 11:45 AM
310 (Washington State Convention Center)
Mark Klopfenstein, Metron Aviation, Herndon, VA

The FAA is implementing a new concept for managing traffic that allows airspace users and traffic managers to better adapt to changing weather conditions. The Collaborative Trajectory Option Program (CTOP) is a traffic management initiative that automates the assignment of delay and routing around one or multiple airspace constraints in order to balance demand with available capacity. A key feature of CTOP, originally known as the System Enhancements for Versatile Electronic Negotiation (SEVEN), is the electronic negotiation of specific flight actions based on user-submitted routing and delay preferences. Through this electronic negotiation, CTOP enables a new approach to traffic flow management under uncertain weather situations.

Under CTOP, flight operators submit multiple trajectory options along with preference information for each flight. Traffic managers use an Interactive Dynamic Flight Lists (IDFL) tool that algorithmically takes these user preferences into consideration as they assign reroutes and delays to flights subject to capacity constraints. Constraints are expressed in the form of Flow Constrained Areas (FCAs) in which capacity is projected to be reduced. The traffic manager reduces traffic demand through the FCA by “dialing down” the IDFL to available capacity, which is determined based on available weather forecast information and other operational considerations.

One of the significant advantages of CTOP is that it incorporates user-preferred options under changing airspace capacity. This allows traffic managers to gradually implement or relax traffic management initiatives depending on changes in the projected capacity of the airspace. This concept reduces the workload of traffic managers while allowing them greater control over traffic in uncertain weather situations, and gives customers greater flexibility to operate their flights according to their business priorities.

In this presentation, we discuss CTOP functionality and how it incorporates weather forecasts. Also, we discuss new demands this paradigm may place on weather forecast information.

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