***The NextGen Thread***

Raydon

New Member
I'm sitting here at work at my winery with NOTHING to do.. so I decided to start looking into our future of ATC technologies and how our world is about to be rocked by the proposed GPS-based ATC systems.



popular mechanics has a great article out right now outlining the general concepts and analysis of these systems and their implimentation.

Just thought I'd post it here for everyone to use as reference if you want to buff up your knowledge base ahead of time.

here's a link to the Pop Mech article.

one thought of caution for us.. it's time to square up those pegs.. FAA HR is probably going to slim down once the systems get fully integrated.

"This procedure is known as self-separation, because it transfers to pilots some of the responsibility for deciding how close they can safely fly to other aircraft — a task now handled by air traffic controllers. As one retired controller says, "They won't have to ask, ‘Mother, may I?' as often." "

Here's another good example of how it may effect things in the future...

you know the gauntlet on the east coast? the creme de la creme of the ATC world.. big traffic, big pay?





more info from the FAA as well.
 

hudson26

New Member
Interesting article, but take a look at this pic:





I doubt the actual route goes that way due to any shortage of radar equipement on the "optimal route". Their "optimal route" would take them directly over a handful of busy airports with traffic coming in and out. I'm sure the actual route is done to avoid NYC, not because that's where the radar sites are (what the image leads you to beleive by the graphics, but we all know isnt the case)
 

El Sombrero

New Member
First of all, this article is over a year old. Why are we just now talking about this? Second, and most importantly, I believe that the author, as well as any proponents of this alleged vast improvement of our current ATC network, are completely missing the issue. The issue isn't the fact that you can't get from say, Boise to O'Hare in a timely fashion on a relatively linear flight path, it's the fact that once you're handed off to C90, there are 30 other planes within a few miles of you that want to land at the same time on two runways that intersect each other, requiring many pilots to LAHS. Oh by the way, it's November, the visibility is crap and winds are 25K at 220. You throw in a runway incursion and a go-around, 2 events ORD is notorious for, you've got a 30 to 60 minute bottleneck, easy. My point is, I fail to see how this "superior" system is going to improve any of the aforementioned problems. Do you want to know what's going to improve our traffic flow? 9L/27R and 1L/19R, the new runways at ORD and IAD, are a good place to start. Follow suit with an expansion at JFK and LAX and we'll have no problems accommodating more traffic.
 

ATCtower

New Member
My point is, I fail to see how this "superior" system is going to improve any of the aforementioned problems. Do you want to know what's going to improve our traffic flow? 9L/27R and 1L/19R, the new runways at ORD and IAD, are a good place to start. Follow suit with an expansion at JFK and LAX and we'll have no problems accommodating more traffic.
I too am skeptical as to the new system making things "more efficient". More cost-efficient for the airlines if they can do it, but not in the realm of ATC or delays...
As for expanding airports, in some cases it isnt really as necessary as staffing and expanding current infrastructure. Correct me if Im wrong, but doesnt ORD already have 7 runways? LAX is a non-issue as they rarely run more than 2 of the runways they have anyway. Expanding these two airports seems to be overkill, like DEN adding 2 more runways to give them 8 (which they are doing)...

My$.02
 

Raydon

New Member
you're probably right. They're probably just trying to graphically portray significant savings of time and energy with the New GPS.. but you never know!
 

Raydon

New Member
Perhaps the biggest savings will be at the en-route facilities.. since now direct-path flights are purportedly going to be more self-supported with the GPS systems. I understand and see your point about the tracon/atct's still needing the manpower and support of a large staff for the play-by-play when funneling them down in all weather thick and thin.
 

El Sombrero

New Member
Correct me if Im wrong, but doesnt ORD already have 7 runways? LAX is a non-issue as they rarely run more than 2 of the runways they have anyway. Expanding these two airports seems to be overkill, like DEN adding 2 more runways to give them 8 (which they are doing)...

My$.02
Yeah, ORD has 7 runways, all but one of which intersect, which, in inclement weather and rush hour traffic, poses a lot of safety concerns, not to mention crazy long delays. LAX, while not as big of an issue as ORD from a delay standpoint, has an extremely high number of runway incursions due to the nature of the airport's layout.
 

El Sombrero

New Member
Perhaps the biggest savings will be at the en-route facilities..
I can agree with that statement, certainly. I just find it interesting that saving on manpower and "reducing delays" have somehow become synonymous, when in fact, the two have little or nothing to do with each other.
 

ATC RET 2003

No More Vectors
There is no doubt that the system is sorely in need of upgrading and also, those of you just starting out in this business are probably going to be exposed to several mutations and/or reincarnations of NextGen over the coming years.

However, NextGen doesn't appear to me to be the "cure-all" that they are touting it to be. There are several places where they will have to make modifications. Probably the most important one centers around this statement from the article:

...the landing capacity for a single runway could increase by 25 percent, handling a plane every 45 seconds.
Wake turbulence is a very real and potentially lethal "phenomenon" and satellites are not going to make it disappear. I hope they continue to factor it into their grand scheme without the necessity of slamming any airplanes into the ground to remind themselves that it's still there.

With regard to this graphic:



Here's the caption that went with it in the article:

This 68-minute US Airways Flight 2046 (yellow) uses about 275 gal. of fuel to fly 585 miles from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Mass. The same flight under NextGen (blue) would save 23 minutes, 91 gal. and 185 miles.
In addition to what hudson26 said about it, there is another reason why the actual route doesn't go that way... This plan is all well and good if USAir 2046 is the ONLY airplane that wants to do that. However that's certainly not the case. For the sake of argument, let's say that 20 flights an hour want to do it, too. Still OK for the most part. Unfortunately, the shortest path from Boston back to DC is along the very same route. So add another 20 flights per hour going the other way and your satellite has got some sorting out to do. I just don't think that implementing a system that causes nose-to-nose situations is such a good idea. And they seem to be advocating doing this on a national scale.

The article (like most others on the subject) asserts that the new technology will enable us to put more airplanes in the air, closer together, and thereby improve efficiency and reduce delays. Within the past few years, RVSM was introduced. This procedure reduced the vertical separation above FL290 from 2000' to 1000' effectively doubling the airspace capacity up there. Granted not everyone goes above 290 and of those who do, not all are RVSM capable. But you would think that this relatively major increase in capacity would have lent a little toward reducing delays. Delays in the past few years have included the worst ever in history.

Increasing the airborne capacity just doesn't seem to me to be the answer to the delay problem... I think is has more to do with the airports. That's where the delay problem really is.

In light of Raydon's comments about the pegs... I couldn't help but appreciate this reader comment from the article:

...you cannot jam 100 square pegs into 50 round holes faster by having these pegs delivered to you more quickly!
 

Raydon

New Member
In light of Raydon's comments about the pegs... I couldn't help but appreciate this reader comment from the article:
I don't see the original post containing that.. nor do I see how it applies to my originally intended message of simply making the cut and getting in...

the improvements may be menial on a comparatively large scale around the nation buuuuut that does still mean fewer seats to be filled more or less.

you all have very good points.. especially sombrero and atc ret.
-the blue line doesn't make very much sense unless you're planning on stacking all the way up to the most efficient altitude for traffic capacity vertically and expanding the "highway" lanes horizontally to multiply the potential number of NE/SW traffic.. but then.. you do find yourself dealing with tarmac capacity and the potential of HUGE setbacks in the event of an emergency or runway closure... not to mention increased localized congestion along travel routes.

that being said.. maybe they don't redirect ALL traffic flying between airports.. perhaps fractions of certain daily flight numbers traveling to and from the locations within that area.. it would still cut back and save SOME money,. and as long as the system implementation, maintenance and operation is less than the avg. savings provided by the system.. it would be a positive influence on the industry's budget.

you'd think they'd be a little more conclusive about their reports though... i hate to have to speculate to cover my arse with regards to NextGen operations but I remain an optimist.

it sounds like they know that they won't be able to handle ALL traffic wanting to travel in that particular airspace.. so to argue the most agreeable angle possible - I would have to say that the best they can do is add runways and expand/reroute as much traffic down that pipeline as possible to make the savings worthwhile without creating hazards.

it's feasible.

save time, save fuel, save delays.
 

ATC RET 2003

No More Vectors
I don't see the original post containing that..
This is from the original post:

one thought of caution for us.. it's time to square up those pegs..
It caught my eye because of this, which is from another thread:

...we're safe as long as we can be square pegs for the square holes that keep popping up everywhere as the baby boomers are settling into their golden years.
You mentioned pegs... a reader in an article you cited mentioned pegs... I mentioned them, too. I wasn't at all trying to disagree with anything you said... I was just keeping with the peg imagery.


nor do I see how it applies to my originally intended message of simply making the cut and getting in...
I don't disagree with that message... what I am also suggesting is essentially complementary to it. It's a wise thing to be prepared for coming changes, not just for making the cut, but also for taking an active role in things. Being prepared (or "squaring up the pegs", if you wish) will make you better able to take part in the process of formulating and implementing these changes... it appears that controller participation in these things may be on the verge of making a comeback.
 

PRSATC

New Member
adding runways to airports to relieve congestion isn't always the best idea to add capacity. if you may know, ORD just opened a brand new east/west runway. problem is that it's on the northern part of the field. in order to get to the gates, you may have to pass 2-3 active runways. on top of that, it will take longer to taxi to the gates from this new runway. all that is doing is taking the congestion in the air and bringing it to the ground, which in my opinion, is by far more dangerous. also, adding runways and changing configurations effect other airports around the area. ORD is changing to all east/west runways over the next few years, which will screw up MDW's traffic flow. already today if MDW is departing/landing in certian configurations, it limits ORD.
 

queeno

Ward of the Guberment
adding runways to airports to relieve congestion isn't always the best idea to add capacity. if you may know, ORD just opened a brand new east/west runway. problem is that it's on the northern part of the field. in order to get to the gates, you may have to pass 2-3 active runways. on top of that, it will take longer to taxi to the gates from this new runway. all that is doing is taking the congestion in the air and bringing it to the ground, which in my opinion, is by far more dangerous. also, adding runways and changing configurations effect other airports around the area. ORD is changing to all east/west runways over the next few years, which will screw up MDW's traffic flow. already today if MDW is departing/landing in certian configurations, it limits ORD.
ok nubee explain to me how MDWs arrival flow is being changed by ORDs east west flow, because it still looks the same to me and i was vectoring the final at MDW last night.and for your info nubee the only MDW arrival conf that conflicts with ORD is ILS 13C which restricts ORDs use of rwy 22L.i dont think ive seen ILS 13C more than 15 days a year.
 

PRSATC

New Member
i didn't say it would change right this minute. but with the 2 or 3 new east/west guys that are being built what happens with them?
 

gilie007

Well-Known Member
First of all, this article is over a year old. Why are we just now talking about this? Second, and most importantly, I believe that the author, as well as any proponents of this alleged vast improvement of our current ATC network, are completely missing the issue. The issue isn't the fact that you can't get from say, Boise to O'Hare in a timely fashion on a relatively linear flight path, it's the fact that once you're handed off to C90, there are 30 other planes within a few miles of you that want to land at the same time on two runways that intersect each other, requiring many pilots to LAHS. Oh by the way, it's November, the visibility is crap and winds are 25K at 220. You throw in a runway incursion and a go-around, 2 events ORD is notorious for, you've got a 30 to 60 minute bottleneck, easy. My point is, I fail to see how this "superior" system is going to improve any of the aforementioned problems. Do you want to know what's going to improve our traffic flow? 9L/27R and 1L/19R, the new runways at ORD and IAD, are a good place to start. Follow suit with an expansion at JFK and LAX and we'll have no problems accommodating more traffic.
 
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