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Weather-Impacted Sector Occupancy Paper Presented at GNC Conference

Shawn Wolfe and Deepak Kulkarni’s “Predicting Peak Sector Occupancy with Two-Hour Convective Weather Forecasts” paper was presented at the 2010 AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Conference. The paper focuses on predicting the peak number of aircraft present in a high-altitude sector during a fifteen minute period with forecasted convective weather. This work is a precursor to an upcoming Agency Performance Goal (APG).

BACKGROUND: Currently, there is no accepted standard for sector capacity (the maximum number of aircraft that can be safely controlled) under convective weather. This is problematic for traffic flow managers, who must keep traffic at a manageable level with a minimal loss of efficiency. In current practice, traffic flow management plans are based on the guesswork of traffic flow managers, resulting in a potentially less efficient, less predictable, and less effectively managed system.

The paper presented evaluates several previously proposed sector capacity models. Peak sector occupancies during high traffic periods are used in lieu of sector capacities (which cannot be observed directly). Two-hour forecasts are used to match the planning horizon of traffic flow management. The study shows that weather models can reduce uncertainty, with more complex weather models generally outperforming their simpler counterparts.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: ARMD Airspace Systems Program

COLLABORATORS: Shon Grabbe (Code AFO) and Yao Wang

Contact: Shawn Wolfe

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Weather-Impacted Sector Occupancy Paper Presented at GNC Conference
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