A study of time-to-fly estimates for RUC and ITWS winds
Automated air traffic decision support tools must compute the time it takes an aircraft to fly along a path. The estimation of Time-To-Fly (TTF) requires accurate knowledge of the wind. Two proposed sources of wind data for the Center-TRACON Automation System (CTAS) developed by NASA are the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) and the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS). The RUC is a mesoscale numerical weather prediction model run by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The ITWS was developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory for the FAA. The ITWS winds product, Terminal Winds takes in RUC forecasts and refines them using recent local measurements of the wind from Doppler radars, aircraft, and ground stations. This report examines the question: does the use of RUC and ITWS wind fields lead to different Time-To-Fly estimates?