Tactical Operations Committee (TOC)
Established in 2013, the TOC operated as a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) to provide an open venue for the FAA and those who operate and support operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) to work in partnership to identify and resolve operational issues affecting the efficiency of the NAS and recommend resolutions to those issues and challenges. The TOC operated between January 2013 and May 2018. Committee members represented commercial air carriers, regional air carriers, business aviation, general aviation, international commercial aviation, airports, controller and pilot labor groups and various organizations at the FAA and MITRE.
The work of the Committee can be organized into the following focus areas:
- Criteria and process for responsible and careful reduction of legacy infrastructure of the NAS. This included the VOR Minimum Operating Network and Cancellation of Instrument Flight Procedures.
- Analysis and recommendations on region-specific airspace issues that covered the Caribbean and Northern California.
- Enhancing and improving existing policy, guidance, processes and systems that impact operations. Topics covered included the 20:1 Visual Surface Area, NOTAMs, Airport Construction, Class B Airspace, Graphical TFRs and Intentional GPS Interference.
- Assessing operational impacts from future changes to the NAS. This included the PBN Route Structure Concept of Operations, GPS Adjacent Band Compatibility, Review of Ligado Proposal, Aeronautical Information Management Modernization Segment 3, Common Support Services – Flight Data.
The TOC generally focused on more tactical operational issues that involed resolution in the 2 to 4 year timeframe. This fit between the Collaborative Decision Making that focuses on highly tactical, short timeframes and the NextGen Advisory Committee concentration that is further in the future. Given the complexity of operational challenges addressed by the TOC, work groups addressing key issues pulled in a wide array of individuals and perspectives across operators and the FAA, often fostering relationship building between key stakeholders, in addition to development of recommendations. Many TOC efforts were long-standing “pain points” in the industry that had not yet received a broad and thorough evaluation before they were addressed by the TOC.
The work of the TOC has led to the deployment of capabilities that have redefined and modernized how airspace is designated, how pilots are notified about the status and availability of NAS infrastructure, how the aviation community manages disruption from airport construction and the criteria used to retire infrastructure and cancel flight procedures. The TOC experience highlighted the complex web of operational interaction between industry operators and the FAA. As modernization of the aviation system continues, information will be more available and accessible and, through the TOC experience, operators and FAA have recognized the value of sharing and using information for operational benefit. Additionally, whether sharing information or building other future capabilities, operational changes require investment from both operators and the FAA. Synchronized business case evaluations between operators and the FAA are critical to aligning investment amongst all key stakeholders before moving forward.
|Designated Federal Officer||Jodi McCarthy||Federal Aviation Administration|
|Secretary||Trin Mitra||RTCA, Inc.|