2021 Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) Workshop


2021 Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) Workshop ( July 21 – 22, 2021)


Upper Class E airspace operations have historically been limited due to the challenges conventional fixed-wing aircraft face in reduced atmospheric density in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. However, recent advances in technologies relating to power and propulsion, aircraft structures, flight automation, and aerodynamics have led to an increase in the number of vehicles that can operate in low atmospheric density airspace. Sophisticated high altitude, long-endurance (HALE) vehicles, unmanned balloons, airships, and supersonic/hypersonic aircraft can efficiently and economically satisfy research objectives, demands for broad coverage of services (earth sensing, telecommunications), and supersonic passenger flight.

This increase in demand for upper Class E operations, combined with disparate vehicle performance characteristics and unconventional operational needs, present novel challenges for the current communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) infrastructure and airspace management model. The future use of this airspace creates a common desire to re-evaluate the current traffic management approach and realize innovative solutions. Public-private partnerships are supporting this burgeoning market to meet their objectives while maintaining the safety, security, efficiency, and equity of the National Airspace System (NAS).

The future of upper Class E airspace operations presents opportunities for an alternative traffic management approach. To ensure safe and efficient service provision for current and future expanded operations, NASA and the FAA are exploring an upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) concept. The FAA and NASA, along with participating industry partners and other government agencies, have been conducting collaborative tabletop exercises and guided discussion sessions to better understand the need for ETM with consideration towards stakeholder vision and future operations and FAA publication of the ETM ConOps V1.0 .

Through NARI, NASA and the FAA are co-hosting a two-day workshop to provide an overview of the ETM work to date and discuss the next steps toward the future of ETM and operations at high altitudes. The first day will focus on technical presentation and panels and the second day will include breakout sessions for consensus building.

2021 Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) Workshop

Dates: Wednesday, July 21 and Thursday, July 22

Time: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM PT / 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET

Agenda: Click here

Other reading material:

  • ETM Paper Simulation Analysis
  • FAA ETM website
  • ETM Table Top 2 Summary
  • ETM ConOps V1.O
  • ETM Table Top 1 Summary Report April 2019
  • Aviation Weather Center
  • Overview of ETM Development From World ATM


    Q&A Platform : Conferences.io


    Watch on YouTube 2021 ETM Workshop Day 1

    Watch on YouTube 2021 ETM Workshop Day 2

    Breakout Outcome Slides: 2021 ETM Workshop Breakout Outcomes

    The breakout sessions were as follows.

    Breakout session

    Discussion Topics

    1. ETM Services and Architecture (limited to operations at FL600 and above but including entry and exit)

    • The need for NAS wide service coverage
    • Discovery and Synchronization, scaling to higher altitude, larger volumes
    • Service needs for entry/exit
    • Function/service list and their placement in the architecture

    2. Operational Intent

    • Intent modeling, update rate, and look ahead time
    • Flight plan including the transition to/from FL600
    • Risk calculation

    3. ETM Operator Data Needs

    • Common situational awareness
    • Operation planning
    • Equitable use of Upper Class E airspace

    4. Considerations for Global Operations

    • FIR (Flight information region)
    • Airspace structure
    • Air navigation services and coordination
    • Weather product/Unit



    Registration is closed for breakout sessions, but you are welcome to attend the live-stream sessions. All sessions except the breakout sessions will be live-streamed on YouTube and recorded for post-workshop viewing.

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