Modeling Weather Impact on Airport Arrival Miles-in-Trail Restrictions

Paper #:
  • 2013-01-2301

  • 2013-09-17
  • 10.4271/2013-01-2301
Wang, Y. and Grabbe, S., "Modeling Weather Impact on Airport Arrival Miles-in-Trail Restrictions," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 6(1):247-259, 2013,
When the demand for either a region of airspace or an airport approaches or exceeds the available capacity, miles-in-trail (MIT) restrictions are the most frequently issued traffic management initiatives (TMIs) that are used to mitigate these imbalances. Miles-in-trail operations require aircraft in a traffic stream to meet a specific inter-aircraft separation in exchange for maintaining a safe and orderly flow within the stream. This stream of aircraft can be departing an airport, over a common fix, through a sector, on a specific route or arriving at an airport. This study begins by providing a high-level overview of the distribution and causes of arrival MIT restrictions for the top ten airports in the United States. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of the frequency, duration and cause of MIT restrictions impacting the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) from 2009 through 2011. Then, machine-learning methods for predicting (1) situations in which MIT restrictions for ATL arrivals are implemented under low demand scenarios, and (2) days in which a large number of MIT restrictions are required to properly manage and control ATL arrivals are presented. More specifically, these predictions were accomplished by using an ensemble of decision trees with Bootstrap aggregation (BDT) and supervised machine learning was used to train the BDT binary classification models. The models were subsequently validated using data cross validation methods. When predicting the occurrence of arrival MIT restrictions under low demand situations, the model was able to achieve over all accuracy rates ranging from 84% to 90%, with false alarm ratios ranging from 10% to 15%. In the second set of studies designed to predict days on which a high number of MIT restrictions were required, overall accuracy rates of 80% were achieved with false alarm ratios of 20%. Overall, the predictions proposed by the model give better MIT usage information than what has been currently provided under current day operations. Traffic flow managers can use these predictions to identify potential MIT restrictions to eliminate (e.g., those occurring during low arrival demand periods), and to determine the days in which a significant number of restrictions may be required.
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