Airspace Q1 2019 – Addressing needs in ATFM


New technologies and methods are driving an evolution in air traffic management (ATM). Two major domains of ATM include air traffic control (ATC) and air traffic flow management (AFTM). The skill, knowledge and training required to be a proficient air traffic controller will no longer be adequate to operate effectively in the training and proficiency of the air traffic flow manager.

ATFM expands on ATC knowledge in strategic decision-making, traffic modelling and analysis, information exchange, and collaborative processes.

ATC behavioural competencies include active radio communication, separation management, tactical control and decision-making and near-term memory.

In comparison, ATFM behavioural competencies include traffic modelling, strategic event analysis, collaborative decision-making, long-term memory, and continual strategic planning. Given the differences in these competencies, few people would excel and possess the aptitudes needed for both domains without specialised training in each type of ability.

Recent MITRE research has identified gaps, and in many cases non-existent training, for AFTM competency. To fill this gap, MITRE developed a college level curriculum targeted at air traffic flow management skills.

The course introduces traffic flow management theory, NextGen philosophies, operational concepts, system integration, crew resource management, decision-making analysis and models.

A medium-fidelity simulator supports the learning objectives of the course through laboratory exercises and hands-on experience.

The course was offered in an experimental state at two universities that specialise in air traffic controller education; Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). ERAU, Daytona Beach campus, integrated the ATFM course into its undergraduate ATM curriculum.

MITRE continues to explore training efficiencies in both air traffic control and air traffic flow management domains to ensure integrated solutions for the future workforce.

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