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Objective Assessment Method for RNAV STAR Adherence  (2017)
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Flight crews and air traffic controllers have reported many safety concerns regarding area navigation standard terminal arrival routes (RNAV STARs). Specifically, optimized profile descents (OPDs). However, our information sources to quantify these issues are limited to subjective reporting and time- consuming case-by-case investigations. This work is a preliminary study into the objective performance of instrument procedures and provides a framework to track procedural concepts and assess design specifications. We created a tool and analysis methods for gauging aircraft adherence as it relates to RNAV STARs. This information is vital for comprehensive understanding of how our air traffic behaves. In this study, we mined the performance of 24 major US airports over the preceding three years. Overlaying 4D radar track data onto RNAV STAR routes provided a comparison between aircraft flight paths and the waypoint positions and altitude restrictions. NASA Ames Supercomputing resources were utilized to perform the data mining and processing. We assessed STARs by lateral transition path (full-lateral), vertical restrictions (full-lateral/full- vertical), and skipped waypoints (skips). In addition, we graphed frequencies of aircraft altitudes relative to the altitude restrictions. Full-lateral adherence was always greater than Full- lateral/full- vertical, as it is a subset, but the difference between the rates was not consistent. Full-lateral/full-vertical adherence medians of the 2016 procedures ranged from 0% in KDEN (Denver) to 21% in KMEM (Memphis). Waypoint skips ranged from 0% to nearly 100% for specific waypoints. Altitudes restrictions were sometimes missed by systematic amounts in 1,000 ft. increments from the restriction, creating multi-modal distributions. Other times, altitude misses looked to be more normally distributed around the restriction. This tool may aid in providing acceptability metrics as well as risk assessment information.
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adherence, data, mining, procedures, RNAV, STAR, waypoint
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IEEE/AIAA 36th Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Alonso Vera
Last Updated: August 15, 2019