Performance Data Analysis and Reporting System
In yet another example of NASA developing a database system with and for the FAA, the Performance Data Analysis and Reporting System (PDARS) began operation in 1999 with the goal of collecting, analyzing, and reporting of performance-related data about the National Airspace System. The difference between PDARS and the Aviation Safety Reporting System is that input for the ASRS comes voluntarily from people who see something they feel is unsafe and report it, while input for PDARS comes automatically—in real time—from electronic sources such as ATC radar tracks and filed flight plans. PDARS was created as an element of NASA’s Aviation Safety Monitoring and Modeling project.
From these data, PDARS calculates a variety of performance measures related to air traffic patterns, including traffic counts, travel times between airports and other navigation points, distances flown, general traffic flow parameters, and the separation distance from trailing
aircraft. Nearly 1,000 reports to appropriate FAA facilities are automatically generated and distributed each morning, while the system also allows for sharing data and reports among facilities, as well as facilitating larger research projects. With the information provided by PDARS, FAA managers can quickly determine the health, quality, and safety of day-to-day ATC operations and make immediate corrections.
The system also has provided input for several NASA and FAA studies, including measurement of the benefits of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex airspace, an analysis of the Los Angeles Arrival Enhancement Procedure, an analysis of the Phoenix Dryheat departure procedure, measurement of navigation accuracy of aircraft using area navigation en route, a study on the detection and analysis of in-close approach changes, an evaluation of the benefits of domestic reduced vertical separation minimum implementation, and a baseline study for the airspace flow program. As of 2008, PDARS was in use at 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers, 19 Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities, three FAA service area offices, the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, VA, and at FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC.