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Following up on “NextGen + SESAR = Air Traffic Harmony,” ASIG wanted to share some of the information presented at ATC Global 2011, held March 8-10, in Amsterdam. Even if you don’t operate in Europe, what is going on there matters to everyone, even those who never wing their way out of US airspace.
Before ATC Global began, the FAA and European Union signed a formal Memorandum of Cooperation. Befitting aviation’s worldwide reach, they signed the document in Budapest, Hungry. A research agreement that encourages industry participation, the memo focuses on the interoperability of avionics, communication protocols, procedures, and operational methods between America’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and the EU’s Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR).
It seems that in some areas, SESAR has a slight lead on NextGen. In ATC Global’s opening presentations, Florian Guillermet, chief program officer of SESAR Joint Undertaking, reported that 75 percent of the SESAR “factory” is in place. That “factory” covers more than 300 projects, many directly involving those who use the airspace. Those projects are now starting to deliver.
Much of what was presented at ATC Global is now online. Rather than an in-depth report on it, a synopsis, with links to the source material, seemed more efficient.
SESAR Forum: SESAR is making the jump from development to deployment in 2011. This forum provided background and details, including key milestones for 2011 and 2012. There are 16 operational focus areas and 29 validation exercises set for 2011. This includes flight trials of air and ground data link services that support the initial 4D (i4D) traffic synchronization of computed and predicted controlled time arrival of aircraft.
Other 2011 SESAR deliverables include Point Merge procedures in complex terminal control areas (see Now is the Time to Invest in NextGen RNP.) These procedures better exploit flight management system capabilities, including continuous descent arrival procedures. SESAR will be validated all over Europe in 2012.
SESAR Interoperability Symposium Part I & II: Global harmonization depends on universal technical standards defined by ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and coordinated industry standards. There are significant differences in how various parts of the world organize Air Traffic Management, so one solution doesn’t meet the needs of all nations and regions. Global interoperability, therefore, depends on common technology (systems) and operational procedures that can be equally applied and scaled to meet an area’s needs.
The keynote forum and symposium were followed by a number of Technical Workshops.
Data Mobile Communications Systems: Data link supports all airspace users from airlines and the military to general aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles. “Data will be the primary mode of future operations” with voice communications for emergency situations. It uses a multi-link approach of C-band for airport surface, L-band for general terrestrial, and satellite for oceanic and continental routes.
Green ATM: SESAR meets growing mobility needs while protecting the environment. Of particular interest to operators are efficiencies that predict 10-percent fuel savings per flight. This includes AIRE, Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions. Objectives for 2012 includes operational validation of i4D trajectory supported by satellite-based technology.
Avionics: This workshop covered avionics progress within the SESAR program, from 4D trajectory and airport navigation functions to ASAS (airborne separation assistance system) tools for pilots (including ADS-B and TCAS), and combined vision systems that include the detection of wake vortex. Four key development areas—4D Trajectory Management, Information Management, Collaborative Network Planning, and Enhanced Automation Support—are integrated across Airborne, En-Route & Terminal, Airports, Airline Operations, Military Operations, and CNS Infrastructure (including space).
SWIM: System Wide Information Management is ATM’s air-to-ground and ground-to-ground intranet. Automation handles most of the routine tasks, allowing controllers to concentrate on high value-added tasks. It includes a Registry, a complete and consolidated source of reference and service information.
It is clear that the systems and procedures required to operate in 21st century airspace are quickly coming on line with building-block functionality. Now is the time to for operators to make the transition from planning for these realities to acting on them. ASIG stands ready to help operators implement them in a phased effort that will keep you on pace with the future.
Until next time, stay 5x5, mission ready, and Wired!