WASHINGTON, 26 Aug. 2013. The FAA, working to optimize the flow of aircraft into crowded airspace, has completed its initial deployment of a new system: Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM).
Lockheed Martin’s TBFM, now installed in all 20 en route centers, will replace Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) as a time-based scheduling tool that meters aircraft through all phases of flight. The objective is to deliver the correct number of aircraft to airspace sectors and down to the runway at the exact pace at which the aircraft can be accommodated.
Time-based metering, delivering aircraft to a specific place at a specific time, enables air traffic controllers to manage aircraft in congested airspace more efficiently by smoothing out irregularities and delivering a more consistent flow of traffic down to the runway, says a spokesperson.
After training is complete and the system becomes fully operational, TBFM is expected to be more robust than the old system and provide a better platform for NextGen operations, such as the performance-based navigation procedures that are now being rolled out.
This TBFM deployment phase reflects a high degree of teamwork within the agency and with Lockheed Martin, which produced the system, the spokesperson adds. Each of the 20 en route centers worked with multiple ATO Service Units, and technical issues were resolved through collaboration with and support from controllers, technicians, and labor partners.
In the future, the system will be deployed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.