Framework of a Time-Based Simulation Model for the Analysis of Airfield Operations


This paper presents the framework of a new microscopic simulation model called Virginia Tech airfield simulation model (VTASIM) developed to study aircraft operations at airports. The model presented is designed and built under the concept of the time-based simulation model in which aircraft states are updated at fixed time intervals. by employing a vehicle-following model, VTASIM can portray aircraft movements on taxiways in great detail and with more accuracy than traditional discrete-event based airport simulation models. In order to find efficient taxiing routes between gates and runways, the model employs a time-dependent shortest path algorithm. Another unique feature of the model is its ability to capture the communication activities between pilots and controllers, which may cause delays in airfield operations especially at busy airports. This paper describes the methods and the structure of the model. The model is applied to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to illustrate its functionality.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


United States. Federal Aviation Administration
National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research NEXTOR

Keywords and Phrases

Air Traffic; Airports and Airfields; Computer Programming; Simulation Models; Time Factors

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2008 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2008