FAA NextGen

Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Overview

The movement to the next generation of aviation is being transformed from a radar-based system to a satellite-based using Global Positioning System (GPS). Advances  in communication, navigation, surveillance, and information-sharing makes air travel safer, more convenient, efficient, and environmentally friendly. As airports across the nation continue to experience congestion, NextGen efficiency improvements are enabling FAA to increase operational efficiencies, reduce human risk factors from airspace management, and reduce environmental impacts such as fuel burn emissions and noise. NextGen is the FAA’s plan to modernize the National Airspace System (NAS).

For more information on FAA’s NextGen Initiative, please visit:  http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/

FAA Optimization of Airspace & Procedures in the North Texas Metroplex (OAPM)

One of the first phases of NextGen implementation is an initiative called the Optimization of the Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM). The objective of the OAPM project in the North Texas Metroplex is to optimize aircraft arrival and departure procedures at 11 area airports, including the two largest commercial service airports, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL).

The OAPM focuses on a geographic area, rather than just a single airport and improves the efficiency of the North Texas metroplex airspace. A “metroplex” is a major metropolitan area with multiple airports where air traffic congestion, airport activity in close geographical proximity and other limiting factors combine to reduce efficient aircraft movement.

Redesigning the congested airspace above major centers of operations such as metroplexes creates a more integrated, efficient, and predictable system. The North Texas Metroplex Plan was implemented in September 2014 and is one of several being implemented across the US.  

Conventional vs Area-Navigation (RNAV) Procedures

The basic principle for conventional ground-based navigation aids is that aircraft fly from one ground-based station to the next in a zig-zag pattern. RNAV is an FAA NextGen initiative that transitions navigation from ground-based navigational aids to satellite based aids which provide for more efficient design of airspace and procedures. The results include consolidated flight tracks, reduced noise over surrounding communities, and reduced air emissions by shortening the amount of time an aircraft is inside Metroplex airspace[DS1] . 

The figure below shows the difference between Conventional, RNAV, and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures.