November 5th, 2006 06:36 EST
FAA Completes Deployment of Mission-Essential Conflict Detection Tool
WASHINGTON, DC - In another major step toward air traffic control system modernization, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has completed the deployment of a mission-essential system called User Request Evaluation Tool (URET) at all 20 FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers around the country.
URET is a conflict-detection tool that automatically detects and advises air traffic controllers of predicted conflicts between aircraft or between aircraft and special activity airspace within the National Airspace System (NAS). This strategic planning tool allows controllers to create alternative conflict-free flight routings and to efficiently manage changing air traffic or weather conditions.
"Programs like URET are creating better value and efficiency for our customers and employees and are increasing safety at the same time," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.
With the help of URET, controllers can take a more strategic approach to assigning new routes by not only identifying conflicts in the immediate area, but also in adjoining airspace. This strategic approach to assigning new routes helps reduce the number of changes required and lessens controller workload.
From the pilots' perspective, URET's capabilities help them fly more user-preferred routes with fewer restrictions. Data from URET-equipped centers show that controllers are more likely to assign pilots direct routings, resulting in reduced flight times and fuel savings, by allowing aircraft to fly at more fuel-efficient altitudes and wind-optimal routes. Since its inception in 1999 through the end of this summer, URET has shortened routes by 89.5 million nautical miles, for an estimated savings of $626.5 million.
In addition, URET is also helping save taxpayers' money because it cuts down on the use of paper by more than one-third in some facilities. URET electronically displays the same flight management information as paper flight progress strips. With initial daily use at Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center, URET is now operational at all FAA centers.
Lockheed Martin is the contractor for URET.
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