Enabling operators to find out what is happening, real-time, in the National Airspace System (NAS) is essential to the concept of FileSmart. Fortunately, there is an enormous amount of information available online that is both public and easily accessible.
FAA’s Web Resources – www.fly.faa.gov
The primary source of public information about what is going on in the NAS is the FAA’s www.fly.faa.gov website. Located under the “Products” section of that site, a series of tools allow operators to get the big picture of what is happening in the NAS, see what traffic management initiatives (TMIs) are being used and find the flight-specific information that they need.
These tools include the:
- Operational Information System (OIS) page
- Advisories Database page
- Current Reroutes page
- Current Restrictions page
- National Playbook Routes page
- EDCT Lookup page
Operational Information System (OIS)
The OIS page is the first page that operators should look at when checking the status of the NAS. This page gives a “bird’s eye” view of what’s happening in the NAS, highlighting TMIs – such as ground delay programs (GDPs), ground stops and airspace flow programs (AFPs). It also shows airport departure/arrival delay information and airport closure information.
The FAA Advisories Database contains a wealth of information. Whenever an important piece of information needs to be conveyed about what is happening in the NAS, an advisory is issued. These advisories outline TMIs being issued/cancelled, reroutes, Operation Plans and other very useful information.
Current Reroutes Page
The FAA’s Current Reroutes page is a simple reference page which lists all of the reroutes that are currently in effect in the NAS, whether they are required routes, recommended routes or FYI routes. Clicking on the “Show Advisory” button for each route brings up the details for it.
Current Restrictions Page
The FAA’s Current Restrictions page provides real-time information about where miles-in-trail and minutes-in-trail restrictions, and other metering, is in use. Using this page, operators can quickly determine if these types of TMIs are in place along their route of flight and if they will affect their flight.
National Playbook Routes Page
The National Playbook is a set of routes that have been pre-coordinated by traffic managers, designed to be put into place quickly as conditions require. They are available for review on the National Playbook page and are a great reference for operators to know what routes might be issued and which routes are available as options.
EDCT Lookup Page
The FAA’s Expect Departure Clearance Time (EDCT) Lookup page is designed to allow operators to determine their EDCTs if their flights are captured in a GDP or an AFP. Operators can enter their call sign, origin, destination and aircraft type to have their EDCT displayed.
Additional Online Resources
Many constraints in the NAS are the result of convective weather, due to its severity and unpredictability. Another useful online resource is the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product (CCFP) from the National Weather Service. This resource is a great way to determine where air traffic managers are expecting constraints. With this insight, operators can often anticipate what TMIs will be used.