Trajectory based operations are a cornerstone of NextGen and RNAV procedures have a proven benefit in the NAS. However, adoption of RNAV arrival procedures has been slow due to the challenge controllers face merging RNAV and non-RNAV flights. This project will deliver a controller aide that addresses this issue and could enable broad adoption of RNAV arrival procedures and the accompanying benefits. We envision technology transfer to the FAA occurring at the end of Phase 2, for implementation within the TRACON automation systems. A similar concept to address a different issue currently operates at several airports, offering a clear path for implementation of this technology.
Potential applications for the research results beyond Phase 2 include use by NASA within TAPSS. This technology would complement NASA's TAPSS by supporting controller acceptance showing ghost targets will increase the controller's confidence that the TAPSS speed advisories achieve the required merging without vectoring. In addition, TAPSS assumes all arrivals will be flying RNAV RNP approach procedures, or that controllers can manually handle non-RNAV aircraft using current vectoring techniques. Controllers at numerous ATC facilities not using RNAV arrival procedures have expressed that the main reason for not using RNAV procedures is the difficulty controllers have merging RNAV and non-RNAV arrivals. Our concept will help TAPSS accommodate non-RNAV flights and, thereby, support controller acceptance.