Helping safety practitioners and safety managers in Air Traffic Management (ATM)

FAA’s multiple safety systems are keeping us safe when flying

ATAC supports the FAA’s multiple safety systems as they evolve and new procedures are integrated into the NAS (National Airspace System). 

ATAC researched and developed leading Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the FAA ATO Safety organization that can be used to indicate possible risk in the air traffic system and set up threshold alerts that will help safety practitioners and safety managers in Air Traffic Management (ATM) focus on possible problem areas and place emphasis where needed.  Our subject matter and technical experts collected information through the Performance Data Analysis and Reporting System (PDARS), engaged in brainstorming sessions, and subsequently proposed a set of KPIs designed to help identify and examine potential risks to the system before they become safety threats. The result is a set of techniques that can be used by safety practitioners and managers to evaluate and improve safety in ATM. The power of the approach that ATAC has taken is that it can be adapted to different data sets to discover many different types of anomalies.

Safety management across ATM systems will therefore improve as safety practitioners implement common techniques, terms, and results.  One approach taken by ATAC was to model how the operation and systems should work or function. This became the nominal “model” (how the system should behave), from which the “risk” model (how it can fail, and how it can be recovered) was developed. There are various techniques of modeling an operation for subsequent safety analysis; thus, an additional method pulled abstractions of the system from particular viewpoints, so the exact safety modeling requirements were a function of the aspects on which the safety practitioner intends to focus.

ATAC has the data, the tools, and the expertise to quickly model different scenarios and rapidly test the results. Using PDARS, which collects, processes, and archives operational data from Centers and the larger TRACONs and provides daily reports to each facility of the previous day’s performance, ATAC can simulate and evaluate potential safety risks within the NAS.  Metrics to review all aspects of flight offer decision makers vital information to continually enhance safety and efficiency in the NAS.

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