Ignoring the Rules

With the arrival of summer and convective weather air traffic controllers have to separate aircraft in the chaos resulting from aircraft deviating around weather.

Normally aircraft are all on filed routes, so controllers know exactly where they’re going.  They keep the airplanes apart based on those routings.

Once aircraft start turning off course to avoid cells of weather, the controllers’ task of keeping all the airplanes apart becomes much more complex.  When aircraft are deviating for weather controllers no longer know exactly where the aircraft are going.  Pilot requests to deviate and for turbulence reports also increase the controllers’ workload dramatically.

A sector that can handle a certain number of aircraft safely and efficiently under normal conditions can only handle …

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ERAM Under the Radar

It’s been a while since my last entry, mostly because all has been pretty quiet on the En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) front, at least at my facility (Minneapolis ARTCC or ZMP), and I’ve been otherwise occupied with other summer projects.

As you may know the FAA stopped testing the ERAM software on live traffic in late March, due to the many serious problems they were experiencing with it.  I don’t believe it has been used on live traffic since.

Sometime in April some of the centers began testing version 2 of the ERAM software, which also involved some firmware updates to hardware.  We’ve gone to our backup computer system (EBUS/DARC) several times on the overnight/midshift since then to accomplish …

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