FAA and NASA make pushbacks more efficient

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA have completed an IT project calculating gate pushbacks at busy airports so aircraft can roll directly onto the runway and take-off without delay.

The software, part of the FAA’s Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) programme was developed by NASA and after four years of testing, an enhanced version with new push-back capability will be rolled out to 27 airports.

It determines the best time to pushback an aircraft from the gate and roll non-stop to the runway in a choreographed sequence.

The FAA says as aircraft depart, they join high altitude and route traffic more efficiently, reducing airspace restrictions.

By minimising ramp congestion and taxi delays, fuel burn and CO2 emissions will be reduced.

Testing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport found that reduced taxi times could save 275,000 gallons of fuel annually, reduce CO2 emissions by eight tonnes a day, and reduce delays by 916 hours or on average 15 minutes per flight.

Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator says: “This new capability as part of a flight merging system has a double benefit: It reduces aircraft emissions and ensures air travellers experience more on-time departures.”

The airports currently expected to be part of the roll-out include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago Midway, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston Bush, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Newark, New York JFK, New York La Guardia, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington Dulles and Washington Reagan National.


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