Eddy Dissipation Rate (EDR) Uplink Demonstration Capacity and Efficiency Benefits Quantification

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 2:00 PM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Tammy J. Farrar, FAA, Washington, DC; and R. S. Lee, M. Phaneuf, M. Robinson, J. Bracken, E. Frazier, and W. Watts

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) previously funded the adaption, testing, and deployment of the Eddy Dissipation Rate (EDR) turbulence detection algorithm on Delta Air Lines (DAL) aircraft in order to validate EDR data as a means to enhance operational efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS). The EDR algorithm resides in the avionics systems of commercial aircraft, and uses various pieces of onboard information to derive an objective measure of the turbulent state of the atmosphere. EDR is aircraft independent, and is auto-reported at a much greater frequency than Pilot Reports (PIREPs). Because PIREPs are also subjective in nature and can be geographically inaccurate, turbulence severity and location are often incorrectly reported, resulting in controllers blocking and pilots avoiding large areas of airspace that are in fact safe, thereby reducing capacity in the NAS. The previous joint FAA-DAL effort involved the provision of enhanced turbulence data to dispatchers in the DAL Flight Operations Center for use in strategic flight planning to mitigate the impacts of turbulence on NAS operational efficiency.

A follow-on effort, known as the EDR Uplink Demonstration, conducted a 12-month operational demonstration to assess the feasibility of using a tablet personal computing device for the displaying of turbulence forecasts (i.e., Graphical Turbulence Guidance) and EDR information in the cockpit for use by flight crews. The scope of this newest task included developing the methodology for and then conducting operational assessments to quantify the efficiency and capacity benefits to the NAS through the provision of enhanced turbulence information directly to the flight deck. This effort involved innovative data collection and analysis methods as well as evaluating flight operations statistical data during live demonstrations of the use of turbulence information by flight crews. This paper will present the data capture and analysis methodology; data analysis and results; and the findings and recommended future research.