Specifically, do center controllers have to manually amend every flight plan now that En-Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) is fully implemented in the USA? To what extent is the process automated?

I know that, once the flight is en route, if the computer predicts a conflict the controller will need to okay a flight amendment. When flight plan requests are sent in and the center computer checks their viability, do controllers still have to give the okay to amend them and send them back?

Essentially, my question is this: what do FAA center air traffic controllers currently (I say currently because of when ERAM was implemented) do besides talking to the pilot?

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    $\begingroup$ What is ERAM? Which part of the world are you addressing in your question? $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Jul 7, 2016 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ ERAM stands for En-Route Automation Modernization. It is part of the FAA's Next Gen program, and recently replaced the Host computer as the backbone of Air Traffic control centers (ARTCCs). It was fully implemented (at all 22 air traffic control centers in the US) early in 2015, and among other things automated a number of the air traffic control processes. I was addressing those 22 centers in general. $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2016 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


... Do center controllers have to manually amend every flight plan now that ERAM is fully implemented? To what extent is the process automated?

Yup. ERAM does not take away tasks from controllers, it just makes them easier.

For controllers, ERAM provides a user-friendly interface with customizable displays. Trajectory modeling is more accurate, allowing maximum airspace use, better conflict detection and improved decision making. — FAA

Controllers still fill out and pass on flight strips. Physical flight strips are being phased out by the Advanced Electronic Flight Strips (AEFS), for center controllers and all the other facilities.

AEFS replaces traditional paper flight strips, and manual tracking of incoming and outgoing flights, with an electronic flight data display. The system can be updated through a touch screen or mouse. Controllers no longer need to physically carry a flight strip across the control room. A simple swipe of the finger sends the data to another station. This allows the controller to stay engaged with the traffic at all times. — FAA

AEFS will eventually be replaced by the Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM).

It wouldn't surprise me if they print out those flight strips, just in case.

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Source: FAA

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    $\begingroup$ I've always wondered why flight strips have held on through so many system updates. Seems so arcane. Like Amish ATC. -obligatory YouTube link- $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Jul 8, 2016 at 1:04

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