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VATUSA Command Center and Cross the Pond


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At this time last year, spikes in traffic volume across the network made controlling and flying an incredibly busy ordeal. For perspective during that time, April 2020 was in the top 20 monthly operations list 6 times (ATL [3820 operations], LAX [3188], MIA [2921], SFO [2894], BOS [2668], and JFK [2474]). From that period, VATUSA worked to establish a division-wide traffic management resource, responsible for enabling coordination, communication, and cooperation amongst VATUSA facilities and balancing system-wide demand with capacity. In August 2020, the VATUSA Air Traffic Control System Command Center (vATCSCC, or "Command Center") was established and put into action.

Starting in late-October 2020, Command Center was directly involved in helping VATUSA facilities participate efficiently in CTP Eastbound, including route coordination, strategic planning, staffing constraints, ACE Team deployment, and departure metering. Working closely with VATCAN, VATCAR (for San Juan), and Europe helped ensure a smooth transition between routes from the U.S. to the oceanic facilities.

This year (for CTP Westbound 2021), European facilities utilized their recently-established  European Collaboration & Flow Management Project (ECFMP) to help European facilities do the same: coordinate routes, share accurate and timely information, develop a plan to meter departure traffic so that when it arrived in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, it wouldn't be a complete dumpster fire. Utilizing such methods that enable collaboration to support both strategic planning (the stuff we work on for weeks beforehand) and the tactical operation (the in-real-time route coordination, departure metering, general fire-suppression, etc.) is what made this year's Westbound CTP so smooth. Of course, each time around is a valuable learning experience and we'll all convene at some point in the near future to debrief and talk about what improvements can be made in the future, but for the time being, consider this a starting point for taking what used to feel like hot garbage being flung wildly between Europe and America to something I would consider to be a good simulation of air traffic (and a much more manageable one at that). For that--and I'm sure we're not the only ones who feel this way--VATUSA Command Center greatly appreciates the hard work everyone in the ECFMP, CTP Planning Team, VATCAN, and VATCAR (and of course we thank our own facilities :insert_us_flag_emoji:) contributed!

Because I enjoy watching hockey and collecting statistics, here's how much hockey I missed due to meetings for CTP alone:

  • 31 March 2021 at 23Z (Northeast/Maritime Canada Command Center meeting) was about 1 hour long
    • TOR vs. WPG started at 2342Z (missed 18 minutes)
  • 1 April 2021 at 00Z (Midwest/Eastern Canada Command Center meeting) was about 1 hour long
    • TOR vs. WPG started at 31/2342Z (missed 1 additional hour / 1 hour 18 minutes missed total)
  • 2 April 2021 at 23Z (Southeast Command Center meeting) was about 30 minutes long
    • WSH vs. NJD started at 2308Z (missed 22 additional minutes / 1 hour 40 minutes missed total)
  • 3 April 2021 at 02Z (West Command Center meeting) was about 45 minutes long
    • TOR vs. WPG started at 0008Z and ended at 0236Z (missed additional 36 minutes / 2 hours 16 minutes missed total)
  • 3 April 2021 at 20Z (CTP Airfield Meeting)
    • No hockey missed 🙂
  • 9 April 2021 at 23Z (Oceanic Command Center meeting) was about 1 hour long
    • WSH vs. BUF started at 2308Z and ended at 09/0138Z (missed additional 52 minutes / 3 hours 8 minutes missed total)
    • NYR vs. NYI started at 2308Z and ended at 09/0131Z (missed additional 52 minutes / 4 hours missed total)
  • 16 April 2021 at 20Z (CTP General Meeting)
    • No hockey missed 🙂
  • 21 April 2021 at 20Z (ECFMP/DCC Non-event Briefing)
    • No hockey missed 🙂
  • 23 April 2021 at 20Z (CTP Logistics Meeting)
    • No hockey missed 🙂

Total hockey missed: 4 hours

In all seriousness, VATUSA Command Center sincerely thanks all CTP participating and supporting facilities for their hard work and looks forward to collaborating with all of you in the future!

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Jeremy Peterson (HP)
VATUSA Command Center National Operations Manager (NOM)/VATUSA9
[email protected] or nom[email protected]

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