Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT): Operational Experience and Lessons Learned

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Thursday, 2 February 2006: 2:30 PM
Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT): Operational Experience and Lessons Learned
A301 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Rich DeLaura, MIT, Lexington, MA; and R. Todd, R. Ferris, C. Gross, and N. Yaros

The Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT) is an automated decision support tool (DST) intended to help air traffic controllers and airline dispatchers determine which departure routes will be affected by hazardous convective weather up to one hour into the future. To our knowledge, RAPT is the first DST in routine real time use by ATC facilities that combines a convective weather forecast product with a model for air traffic operations to provide users with automated, explicit ATC decision support guidance. RAPT became operational in August, 2002, and has undergone three revisions (Spring of 2003, 2004 and 2005); operational users have been involved in the design and evaluation of each revision. RAPT users currently include air traffic control personnel in the New York area airport towers (EWR, LGA, JFK and TEB), the New York TRACON (N90), several ARTCCs (ZNY, ZDC, ZOB) and the FAA Command Center, as well as airline dispatchers at Continental and Jet Blue airlines. There is also a Web-based RAPT display, supporting access to real time and archived RAPT products over the Internet.

In this paper, we analyze several aspects of RAPT performance: convective weather forecast performance in the specific RAPT context, comparison of RAPT guidance with and without 3D weather and trajectory information and differences in terminal area and convective enroute weather mitigation strategies. Data from different convective weather scenarios from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 convective seasons are analyzed to expose key operational issues. We conclude with a discussion of “lessons learned” and plans for future refinement.