A Committed Partner
Metron Aviation is committed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its advancement of NextGen. Since the mid-1990s, Metron Aviation has supported the FAA in its advancement of air traffic management initiatives – most notably, air traffic flow management.
The Metron Aviation team provides the breadth and depth of capabilities, Subject Matter Experts (SME) and management to successfully implement the emerging technologies and support the operational areas defined for near-term and long-term capabilities. As a founding member of Collaborative Decision Making (CDM), Metron Aviation understands the importance of stakeholder involvement in mission analysis and research. In continuing our research and mission analysis history with the FAA, Metron Aviation is a strong proponent of the NextGen initiatives. The organization is actively involved in the following initiatives:
NextGen: A Closer Look
A trusted partner of the FAA, Metron Aviation has the experience and expertise in critical areas pertaining to NextGen capabilities and technologies during all phases of flight. A closer examination of the Cruise phase, highlights Metron’s strong analysis and advanced research capabilities. Metron Aviation is a key member of the Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) and Mini Global teams.
Metron Aviation is prepared and poised to advance existing en route technologies toward full NextGen implementation. As a key member for the FAA’s Time Based Flow Management program, Metron Aviation contributes to enhance metering of aircraft through the NAS, resulting in higher predictability in the en route stream. Through the Mini Global team, Metron is helping the FAA demonstrate the applicability of global exchange models for Flight, Aeronautical and Weather information.
Metron Aviation’s researchers are at the forefront of en route approach/departure studies at high density airports. These papers describe advanced techniques for designing en route descent routes, and for maximizing airportal capacity during convective weather. Metron Aviation is also a leader in the development of flow and arrival-departure corridors. These corridors are within trajectory-based airspace, and ensure that conflicts are quickly resolved with small speed or trajectory adjustments under high traffic density.
Metron Aviation has been synonymous with modern Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) since its inception more than 20 years ago, when the FAA and airline decision makers came together to demonstrate the value of Collaborative Decision Making, a shared information and cooperative planning methodology. Since then, Metron Aviation has worked closely with both the FAA and the aviation community to provide a regular cadence of new software technologies and procedural improvements to make air travel, more sustainable, predictable and efficient.
Air traffic flow management is the manner in which air navigation service providers (ANSPs), aircraft operators and airports can efficiently balance demand with the available capacity of aviation resources including airports and airspaces. ATFM in the United States is founded on the free exchange of the best-available information between flight operators and FAA traffic managers, to create an accurate projection of future traffic demand and system capacity. Cutting-edge decision support tools let traffic managers identify potential air traffic problems before they develop and take corrective actions in advance. This preemptive traffic management ensures that traffic flow stays as efficient, predictable and sustainable as possible.
Effective ATFM depends on meeting the operational needs of both the service providers and the flight operators. Flight operators need efficiency, predictability and the flexibility to manage business needs even when weather or adverse events disrupt schedules. Service providers need visibility, predictability and control. The ATFM toolset and procedures designed and developed by Metron Aviation, meet the needs of traffic managers by allowing the best mix of departure time controls and en route routing directives to distribute excess demand over both time and space, while providing flight operators with the ability to re-plan their schedules within allocated resources.
As air traffic continues to grow over the next 20 years, with a 3.4 percent growth in North America, according to the Airbus Global Market Forecast, terminal traffic growth will also increasingly put pressure on airport and air traffic controller resources. Therefore, it is necessary to develop solutions that provide efficient coordination of operations between closely-spaced airports. The FAA’s efforts to increase arrivals and departures at high density airports while increasing the flexibility in the terminal environment around multiple airports in congested metropolitan areas is a focus area for Metron Aviation.
As a pioneer member of the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) community, Metron Aviation has worked in close cooperation with stakeholders to design and develop innovative operational capabilities, and associated procedures, which have yielded quantifiable benefits to the National Airspace System (NAS). We have worked with design teams on the NY/NJ/PHL Redesign Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) project to develop alternative routes to the airspace that addressed several of the capabilities identified in the FAA’s NextGen Implementation Plan, such as Area Navigation (RNAV) / Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedure development.
Crucial to the success of NextGen, improving Surface Operations will ultimately improve efficiency, enhance safety and increase flexibility for both pilots and air traffic controllers. Since its founding, Metron Aviation has demonstrated thought leadership in airport surface research and innovation via its role in a number of diverse research programs and implementation initiatives—all of which have quantifiably improved airport efficiency, while improving sustainability.
Metron Aviation has been a leader in surface work since 2005, when it started working with NASA under the SMS program. Since this time, Metron Aviation has validated Surface Collaborative Decision Making Concept of Operations, which included: providing Fast-time Simulation and modeling of airport surface using MatLab and AirTOp, conducted extensive storyboarding sessions with Stakeholders to explore and refine the concept, developed Prototype departure metering software leveraging simulation capabilities in the Metron research lab and prototype development supported Human in the Loop (HITL) sessions which lead to refinement of the Surface CDM concept.
Metron Aviation is actively advancing emerging surface technologies. As a key member of the FAA’s Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM) program, Metron Aviation contributes to enhance metering of aircraft through the NAS, resulting in higher predictability in the overhead stream and therefore more predictability on surface operations. Metron Aviation has also provided concept development for departure metering and developed a protosystem from the FAA.
Metron Aviation understands the importance of improving surface operations, but not at the expense of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) directions. Metron Aviation has taken a leadership role in environment and energy analysis. Metron Aviation developed tools to explore the environmental impact of surface and terminal operations, and developed sophisticated surface routing models to minimize emissions of pollutants and noise. Metron Aviation’s surface accomplishments and future research includes a view taking environmental factors as well as stakeholder participation in the development of concepts and approaches for addressing some of the most complex surface issues.