Skip to Main Content
This paper presents a concept for improving National Airspace System (NAS) operations through the adoption of a flexible, combination of time-based traffic flow management, trajectory-orientation, and airborne separation assistance elements. Time-based traffic flow management on a NAS-wide and local level assures that local airspace areas are not overloaded at any given time. Trajectory-based operations are used to plan and execute conflict free flight paths for upcoming flight segments. Together, these operations put flight crews in a position to utilize Airborne Separation Assistance Systems (ASAS) to deal with local separation issues, if instructed or permitted by the controller to do so. The concept outlined here is derived from a broad ATM research base, along with first-hand experience and results gathered from within the framework of Distributed Air/Ground - Traffic management (DAG-TM) research conducted over the last three years. The unique NAS traffic flow management concept proposed here draws on several existing concepts, by combining and modifying them to leverage on their particular strengths. This paper addresses the tools and technologies required and/or desirable for near-tern implementation and examines the longer-term implications.