Analysis of Aircraft Lateral Path Tracking Accuracy and its Implications for Separation Standards

April 2013
Topics: Air Navigation, Air Traffic Management, Aircraft, Improving National Airspace System Performance
Michael Cramer, The MITRE Corporation
Laura Rodriguez, The MITRE Corporation
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Application of Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) to aircraft separation continues to be a point of difficulty which frequently centers on defining statistical models for Performance-Based Navigation (PBN). Given that questions of the statistics associated with position estimation error are fairly well known, and that path definition error is near zero in modern RNP avionics, this paper will focus on path steering error, which has not been studied using operational data. We propose analysis methods that can be applied to analyzing large volumes of recorded, in-service data to answer the questions of statistical modeling for the path following behavior of these systems. Preliminary analysis results derived from partner airlines' RNAV and RNP equipped aircraft flying in revenue service are presented.

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