The FAA has published details outlining new procedures for air traffic controllers conducting simultaneous approaches to offset parallel runways (SOIA) at airports separated laterally by less than 3,000 feet, such as San Francisco International (SFO).
Air traffic controllers are using advanced procedures to space aircraft closer together on takeoff and landing at major U.S. airports, making early progress toward a major goal of the NextGen ATC modernization effort: increasing airspace capacity.
Miami Approach Control recently reissued guidance on how it plans to handle practice instrument approach requests for aircraft in the local area. For example, standard IFR separation will be applied to all aircraft. Aircraft requesting a procedure turn or a traditional holding pattern are expected to inform the approach controller on initial contact. The facility also reminds pilots that clearance for an approach does not authorize the aircraft to fly the published missed approach without previous authorization.
Pilots and controllers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Memphis International (MEM) and Houston Intercontinental (HOU) may soon take part in operational testing of a new reduced-separation standard between aircraft departing on parallel runways during crosswind conditions. For the wake turbulence mitigation for departures (WTMD) procedure one of the aircraft must weigh more than 300,000 pounds (categorized as “heavy”) and weather conditions must remain at least basic VFR with a 1,000-foot ceiling and three statute miles visibility.
Controller operational errors are on the rise, according to a February 27 audit report from the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), prompted by requests from the Senate subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security and, separately, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. According to FAA data, controller operational errors at the Southern California (SoCal) Tracon, jumped from 33 in FY09 to 189 in FY10, an increase of 473 percent.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration estimates that revised wake turbulence separation standards applied for the first time at Memphis International Airport last November have produced a 15-percent increase in flight-handling capacity at the airport.
The FAA has extended for a second year an operational evaluation of pilot initiated climbs and descents using in-trail procedures (ITP) in Pacific Ocean airspace. The trial involves 12 United Airlines Boeing 747-400s flying between the U.S. West Coast and Australia and New Zealand. Having extended the evaluation to Aug. 15, 2013, the agency said that it is also holding “exploratory conversations” with ANA and Japan Airlines to include some of their aircraft in the process.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released its initial investigation into the Sept. 28, 2012, ATC error that occurred 25 miles south-southwest of Williamtown, New South Wales. At 0801 EST an Airservices air traffic controller at the Brisbane ATC complex in Queensland assumed responsibility for airspace sectors extending from 45 nm north of Sydney to near Coffs Harbor in New South Wales, a distance of about 300 nm.
The FAA has released details of a new ADS-B-based oceanic airspace trial that started October 26 with the goal of reducing longitudinal separation between participating aircraft in the Oakland air route traffic control center’s oceanic control area. The in-trail procedure (ITP), which applies to climbing and descending aircraft, is designed to prove that more aircraft will be able to fly at their requested altitudes using the ADS-B reduced separation standards. A number of conditions must exist during the trial period in order for controllers to apply reduced separation standards.
The FAA released details of a new ADS-B-based oceanic airspace trial that began October 26 to reduce longitudinal separation between participating aircraft in Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center’s oceanic control area. The current trial applies to aircraft climbing and descending and is designed to prove that more aircraft will be able to fly at their requested altitudes using the ADS-B-enabled reduced separation standards.