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Collaborative Decision Making (CDM)

Ron Foley is NATCA CDM Representative  

Background:  The FCT was formed to address longer term (12-24 months) Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) capabilities’ integration with applying an operational approach of using an integration of data, procedures and concepts. The team is charged with the exploration of combinations of concepts and capabilities identified through the CDM Stakeholder’s Group (CSG) and the development of enhanced CDM tools. 

The FCT received a presentation on FFM, having reviewed that information were prepared to offer input. The team decided the prudent move would be to wait until after the TBO Industry Day in January, should any relative information be presented that would add clarity or substance to our input. As the FCT finalized their response on FFM we were provided with additional information in the form of an FFM Vision Document. The FCT reviewed this document and provided additional feedback. The FFM team will be briefing the FCT in April to further clarify this document. 

Vertically Established Operations 

Background:  Vertically Established Operations (VEO) formally known as Vertical Conformance Verification (VCV) is a concept that NextGen is working on in which could provide controllers a new form of separation between aircraft. This concept could allow ATC a means for separating aircraft based off of vertical rate of climb instead of divergence, visual separation, or current altitude separation.  

NATCA participated in bi-weekly meetings to further refine the VEO use case scenarios. The VEO Potential Frequency of Use document was circulated on March 15th to the core VEO team. NATCA is reviewing this document and will be providing comments to the VEO team. 

Taxi and Conformance Monitoring/Digital Copilot 

Background: Digital Copilot is a cognitive assistance platform that MITRE designed and implemented to bring some of the benefits of Crew Resource Management (CRM) to single pilot operations. Digital Copilot reduces pilot workload and increases safety by offloading pilot tasks, increasing task efficiency, and offering contextual information (i.e., the right information at the right time). Closely related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), cognitive assistance is a form of cooperative automation designed to augment human cognition rather than replace it. The Digital Copilot is currently implemented as an iPad application that can interface with a variety of wireless sensor systems such as GPS, ADS-B, and Air Data, Attitude, and Heading Reference Systems (ADAHRS). The Digital Copilot platform currently hosts roughly forty cognitive assistance features, including a set designed to mitigate Wrong Surface Events (WSE). 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and International Air Transport Association (IATA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and many others have issued multiple warnings about the dangers of WSE. Like Runway Incursions (RI), the risks associated with WSE are amplified by the proximity of aircraft operating on the surface. Based on these warnings and a series of high-profile incidents, MITRE began incorporating WSE prevention aids into Digital Copilot in FY17. The WSE that Digital Copilot can currently mitigate include taxiway landing, taxiway takeoff, wrong-runway landing, wrong-runway takeoff, wrong-airport landing, and mistaken off-airport landing. 

MITRE is developing new Digital Copilot capabilities to support rotorcraft, multi-crew operations, and Air Traffic Controllers.  

The concept would allow for controllers to digitally enter taxi instructions to pilots which would be uplinked to the pilot’s tablet. The tablet would then provide progressive taxi instructions to the pilot. The prototype is capable of alerting pilots when there is non-compliance of taxi instructions as well as alerting the controller to this. 

NATCA met with MITRE and ANG to discuss potential use cases for this technology in order to focus on specific use cases moving forward. The team wanted to ensure they were focusing on developing concepts that would be most viable in the NAS and weed out the concepts that would impose too many hazards. NATCA will be meeting with this team again in April to continue analyzing use cases.