Drucella Andersen Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

July 15, 1993 (Phone: 202/358-4727) Michael Mewhinney Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif. (Phone: 415/604-9000) Pat Cariseo Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C. (Phone: 202/267-3441) RELEASE: 93-127 NASA, FAA PROGRAM COULD SAVE AIRLINES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will co-host a briefing July 19-20 for aviation industry representatives about a NASA-developed automated air traffic control tool that could save airlines hundreds of millions of dollars. The Center/TRACON Automation System (CTAS) helps air traffic controllers schedule arriving aircraft more effectively, starting when planes are still about 200 miles from an airport. The briefing at NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif., will describe how CTAS works, review NASA's research to date and discuss the FAA's plans to deploy the system. The FAA predicts that bringing CTAS on-line at just 12 selected airports will save airlines nearly $600 million in operating costs and reduced delays by the year 2000. "CTAS is a prime example of how the combined strength of research, operations and manufacturing organizations, leveraged

together, will help the United States prevail in the global marketplace," said Wesley L. Harris, NASA's Associate Administrator for Aeronautics. The FAA's Associate Administrator for System Engineering & Development, Marty Pozesky, describes CTAS as "a joint FAA/NASA research and development effort to enhance flight efficiency by incorporating new air traffic control automation into the existing system." - more -2"We have designed CTAS tools to bridge the gap between controllers and pilots, thereby improving the efficiency of the air traffic system as a whole," said Dr. Heinz Erzberger, Chief CTAS Designer. Inefficient, inconsistent spacing between aircraft creates delays in airport arrivals. The FAA has regulations that govern the spacing of arrivals at each of the nation's airports, but air traffic controllers normally add a "buffer" to that distance based on their individual experience and judgment. CTAS helps controllers to more accurately space the aircraft by monitoring aircraft during the last 20 minutes of flight and presenting information on displays that pop up on the screen controllers normally use. The system has three highly integrated, automated parts: -- Traffic Management Advisor looks at planes as they come in from all directions while they are still about 200-300 miles from the airport. As the aircraft approaches, it develops a plan to handle the traffic effectively according to the spacing requirements for that airport. -- Descent Advisor generates graphic displays of space and time relationships among incoming planes as they converge on an aerial "gate" about 40 miles out and provides controllers with accurate, fuel-efficient descent and vectoring advisories. -- Final Approach Spacing Tool lets controllers make corrections to the spacing between aircraft after they have flown through the gate and are within 40 miles of the airport.

NASA began to research the air traffic control process in the late 1970s. The advent of graphics-oriented computers in the 1980s provides the means for taking these research ideas from the laboratory to the field. Since May 1992, NASA and the FAA have been testing CTAS at Stapleton International Airport, Denver, and the air route traffic control center in Longmont, Colo. The simpler parts of the system are used in operations while the more complex parts work in "shadow" mode, where real radar data drives CTAS and the system provides advisories, but controllers do not act on them. NASA personnel are located in the facility and get real-time feedback from participating controllers. Similar CTAS operations are slated to begin soon at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. NASA researchers believe that area will be an excellent test of the system because there is heavy traffic and the airport is surrounded by many satellite airfields. The limited deployment of CTAS is a multi-million-dollar part of the FAA's Terminal Automation program, a new air traffic control system that will be in place by the end of this decade. - more -3NOTE TO EDITORS: Media representatives wishing to attend the NASA/FAA briefing should call the NASA Ames Media Services Office at 415/604-9000, by noon PDT on Friday, July 16, to make arrangements. CTAS demonstrations will be conducted on Tuesday, July 20, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. PDT in the Space Sciences Auditorium, Building N-245, at Ames. A video clip on CTAS is available by calling NASA Broadcast and Imaging Branch at 202/358-1733. - end -