Flight Services

Many flight service functions are currently automated. Preflight briefings and instrument flight rules/visual flight rules flight plan filing services are available on a walk-in basis or via telephone. These services are also available via personal computer through the direct user access terminal system (DUATS). Preflight information is also available through dial-in lines for the automated weather observing system (AWOS) and the automated surface observing system (ASOS), whose data are also broadcast automatically.

The FAA is considering virtually complete automation of flight services, with the goal of enabling pilots to self-brief and to file flight plans without contacting flight service specialists. A contemplated operational and supportability implementation system (OASIS) would address these goals.

Oceanic Automation

The current oceanic air traffic control system does not rely on radar coverage, and so direct surveillance is not used over most of the ocean. Navigation is performed primarily with on-board inertial navigation systems, and pilots report their positions to controllers via high frequency voice radio. The current oceanic display and planning system (ODAPS), deployed in Oakland and New York, provides a display of aircraft positions, based on extrapolation of periodic voice position reports from pilots and on filed flight plans. In addition, the dynamic ocean tracking system (DOTS) assists the controller to develop routes that take advantage of favorable wind and temperature conditions, and also projects aircraft movement to identify airspace competition and availability. The telecommunications processor (TP) has replaced the flight data input/output computer system (FDIO) for oceanic controllers; the processor includes a message scrolling capability.

The FAA plans future development of data link capabilities and improved navigation and surveillance data, which are required to support desired automation features for the oceanic environment. Data link capabilities would include the oceanic data link (ODL) under development, as well as future controller-to-pilot data link (CPDL). The global positioning system and automatic dependent surveillance are also considered enabling technologies for automation in this environment. An improved air traffic control interfacility data communications (AIDC) is also posited. The umbrella programs for oceanic automation are the advanced oceanic automation system (AOAS) and the oceanic automation program (OAP). These long-term programs would build on the data provided by new surveillance, navigation, and communication systems to achieve levels of automation commensurate with those of the domestic en route environment. The oceanic environment is also the locus of one of the early precursors to free flight, embodied in the procedures of oceanic in-trail climb (discussed in Chapter 9).

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