A preliminary investigation of Tower Flight Data Manager safety benefits
Improvements to current air traffic management technologies and techniques are required to move toward the next generation air transportation system (NextGen). The Tower Flight Data Manager (TFDM) is a prototype air traffic control system consisting of the: (1) Flight Data Manager (FDM) facilitating interaction with electronic flight data, (2) Tower Information Display System (TIDS) providing enhanced surveillance information, and (3) Supervisor Display providing a means for front line managers and traffic management coordinators to interact with strategic and tactical planning and decision support tools. Given that TFDM aims to enable safe and efficient operations under NextGen, it is critical to analyze potential safety impacts and determine what types of real-world safety issues can be prevented or mitigated by TFDM. With this goal in mind, we reviewed 560 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reports focusing on commercial air carrier operations over a five year period. Over 100 reports were deemed relevant to TFDM and further analyzed to determine the likelihood that these safety-related events could have been mitigated or prevented by the key TFDM capabilities outlined above. A systematic method for generating probabilistic estimates of benefits for a technology not yet deployed was utilized to produce effectiveness ratings for the various TFDM components.