Micro Nav shortlisted for 2020 ATM awards

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Micro Nav, which specialises in the development, production and support of simulation and training systems for air traffic control (ATC) and airport operations, has been shortlisted for the air traffic management (ATM) awards in the category of Enabling Technology.

With global restrictions on air traffic impacting air navigation service providers (ANSPs), airports and training establishments, Micro Nav developed an extension to its existing BEST (Beginning to End for Simulation and Training) ATC simulation platform, making it accessible to its worldwide customer base from anywhere at any time via the cloud.

With the continued drop in air traffic putting a huge financial strain on ANSPs, Micro Nav offered its technology for free to CANSO’s ANSP members, enabling them to access the capabilities of radar and tower simulation. By providing access to ATC simulation via the Cloud, training can take place from anywhere at any time. Micro Nav’s technology also enables organisations to re-introduce or continue enhanced safety critical training, including training for abnormal and emergency situations and ‘importantly’ training at pre-COVID traffic levels. For ANSPs, it has provided a solution to return to much needed and valued training. In some cases it has offered an opportunity to access simulation for training for the first time. Controllers are able to maintain their core skills with busy traffic situations, to refresh their skills, and to regain the confidence of managing higher traffic loads safely as air traffic levels slowly increase.

The winners of the ATM awards will be announced at a virtual award session due to take place at the end of February.

Plans outlined to drive modernisation and digitalisation of European ATM

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To effectively coordinate the modernisation of Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) system in the coming years leading airspace users, airports, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager have formed a partnership and jointly released a set of high-level principles.

With ANSPs fully committed to the delivery of the Digital European Sky, Janusz Janiszewski, CEO PANSA commented on how this equal partnership represents the successful vehicle to making this a reality. “The leadership and inclusive approach for stakeholders in all phases of the ATM lifecycle is key to achieve the Single European Sky objectives.”

Thanks to the wealth of operational and institutional expertise possessed by the members engaged in the partnership, it is perfectly placed to provide decisive and clear added value to ATM stakeholders and the European aviation system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively impacted European ATM and the only way for European ATM to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic is by working together. The Partnership of operational stakeholders and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager is hugely important in this regard; an alliance of equals with unparalleled expertise and experience that can really get things done and deploy an effective, cost-efficient, scalable and environmentally sustainable European ATM infrastructure for the future.

Eamonn Brennan, Director General EUROCONTROL.

The principles outlined as a result of the collaboration include: Building and making use of an unprecedented pool of civil and military ATM expertise; Simplifying processes and expanding perspectives beyond EU boundaries to support stakeholders across the whole European network; Combining a performance-based and passenger-centric approach with the network perspective; Focusing resolutely on the environmental performance of ATM to support the European ‘Green Deal’; Delivering the highest level of buy-in from all involved stakeholders; Widening the scope to all major deployment and infrastructure initiatives requiring synchronisation at pan-European level; Establishing a closer link between the technology innovation cycle and ATM operations addressing the most urgent priorities and operational needs; Defragment deployment and coordinating investments through a reinforced programme management approach; And creating a ‘virtuous cycle’ to link and de-risk all phases of the ATM lifecycle through close cooperation with the SESAR Joint Undertaking.

Commenting on behalf of European airports, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI) Europe said: “Being fully involved and part of the deployment of SESAR is a must for ACI Europe. This is about pursuing our agenda for a closer integration between airport operations and Air Traffic Management, which is instrumental for ensuring a greener, more passenger-centric and more efficient air transport system.” He added that the industry trade body is, “delighted to be part of this new industry partnership together with EUROCONTROL Network Manager” and is looking forward to, “leveraging the SESAR programme to build back better.”

Nice Airport A-CDM

Nice Airport A-CDM system receives EUROCONTROL approval

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Nice Airport A-CDM

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport in France has credited the expertise and collaboration of teams from RESA and ATRiCS with getting its A-CDM (airport collaborative decision making) system approved by EUROCONTROL in record time.

“This approval marks the end of an intense, exciting period of work during which our suppliers tackled a host of challenges. We now have a comprehensive, stable, reliable and scalable solution for optimising all our operations,” said Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur. “In concrete terms, it will enable us to cut taxiing and queuing times at runways, which in turn will cut greenhouse gas emissions for both those flight phases. More generally speaking, the A-CDM system reasserts our firm place at the heart of European airspace and the future of air travel, which will be all about combining economic and environmental performance,” he added.

The airport’s INFOPAX AODB (Airport Operational Data Base) system had already been up and running for several years. The tool centralises, processes and shares information required to manage the airport’s flights and related resources (aircraft parking, boarding gates, check-in desks). RESA has now upgraded the system by integrating A-CDM. This was achieved by developing an interface that communicates continuously with the ATRiCS solution in order to send data that is essential for CDM.

As a result of this upgrade all ground operations can be scheduled smoothly, from the moment the aircraft arrives until it departs again, with the goal of predicting its take-off time as accurately as possible. The A-CDM approval also marks a new era for a data exchange solution that RESA has already been running for several years with EUROCONTROL. The first level involved setting up a connection with the CFMU – in other words, one-way receipt of messages containing flight data from EUROCONTROL. The second, known as advanced ATC Tower, added a function enabling the airport to send messages to EUROCONTROL about target take-off times. The third level, Full A-CDM, includes an information exchange portal for all airport partners: ATC, the airport operator, ground handlers and airlines.

Commenting on how the RESA A-CDM system has made Nice the fourth French airport to obtain EUROCONTROL approval, Florian Reischek, RESA Product Director, said: “The synergy between teams from RESA, Nice Airport and ATRiCS was an incredible driver for all the people involved in this project… We are extremely proud of this and would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who took part.”

ATRiCS, meanwhile, worked on the development and implementation of an automated tool called Collaborative Pre-Departure Sequencing System. This system brings together all the data provided by the INFOPAX AODB system, its purpose being to continuously plan and calculate flight take-off times based on various local and European constraints (runway capacity, congestion in the skies etc). Ultimately this has provided those responsible for managing air traffic with better means of predicting and anticipating flights.

Having set up the Advanced ACT-Tower developed by RESA in December 2016, then implemented Full A-CDM in November 2019, Nice Airport obtained EUROCONTROL approval in September 2020. The project was co-funded by the European Union, the Direction des Services de la Navigation aérienne (France’s air traffic control agency, the DSNA) and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.

For more on how A-CDM can bring significant network benefits to regional airports make sure you’ve subscribed to receive the next issue of Regional Gateway magazine.

Bosnia and Herzegovina improves airspace communications with Frequentis Comsoft

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The Directorate of Civil Aviation for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHDCA) has introduced an Air Traffic Services Message Handling System (AMHS) from Frequentis Comsoft to replace the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) and enhance aviation communication within its airspace.

The AMHS system enables all types of ground-to-ground aeronautical messages such as flight plans, meteorological messages and NOTAM messages to be sent and received in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Commenting on the collaboration with BHDCA, Thomas Hoffmann, Frequentis Comsoft Managing Director, said: “All three sites (Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar) now have technically identical systems after the system upgrade, which can be mutually supervised and operated. If required, the operational service can, once initiated, be automatically moved to the system at the contingency site in approximately 15 minutes, including the complete data history. We look forward to working together on future projects.”

BHDCA’s system consists of a location-independent, redundant operating system (OPS), contingency system (CONT) and a training and testing system (TRAINING/ TEST) and has been successfully operational since May 2020. The AMHS system is a communication system that represents a central point of access to international AMHS networks and data, linking user terminals of operational services and units of BHDCA into the world exchange of data and information.

During the implementation of AMHS into the operational use, an air navigation system safety assessment was also conducted by BHDCA.

“With BHDCA changing from AFTN to AMHS the ATM world becomes more modern, reliable and secure,” explained Vaclav Sourek, Frequentis Comsoft Sales and Marketing Director. He underlined that, “Frequentis Comsoft’s excellent track record with 65 AMHS customers worldwide proves that our clients are pleased with our AMHS system quality, which is our priority.”

Kongsberg Remote tower at Menorca

Menorca Airport advances plans for remote tower system

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Kongsberg Remote tower at Menorca

Spain’s Menorca Airport is turning to a remote tower system for its air traffic control (ATC). Alongside Gesnaer Consulting and Avinor Air Navigation Services, Kongsberg has been selected to provide the advanced Remote Tower System.

The unique design of Kongsberg’s Electro-Optical Sensor Suite features a rotating platform housing a visual and infrased 360° daylight and infrared cameras as well as  pan-tilt camera platform with a visual zoom camera, an infrared camera, a laser range finder and a signalling light. Air traffic controllers are then able to view the digital out the window view on high resolution monitors.

One of the major benefits of remote tower technology is that the system can be extended to control multiple airports from the same control centre. Kongsberg and Avinor Air Navigation Services are already working together on the Ninox programme, which includes 15 different airports that will all be operated from a new control centre located in Bodø, Norway (pictured right).

“Remote control of air traffic brings new capabilities to air traffic operations, enabling safe operations at reduced costs,” said Kjetil Reiten Myhra, Executive VP Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace AS. “This is achieved by the combination of high-end technology and proven safe operation procedures and concepts. Kongsberg is proud to deliver our world class solution to Menorca Airport and AENA together with the industry team.”

The system is expected to be delivered in 2021 with Gesnaer Consulting responsible for implementing and executing the project on behalf of Spanish airport operator, AENA.

CANSO reaffirms commitment to ATM recovery during virtual AGM

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During its 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held virtually on Friday 16 October, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organiser (CANSO) launched a new advocacy priority to help the industry navigate the current aviation crisis. The commitment is to provide the policy and framework guidance to ensure the air traffic management (ATM) industry emerges from the current pandemic stronger and more resilient then before.

“It has been a challenging year for us all and it is encouraging to see such a commitment to CANSO and the industry,” said Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO. “Our members have come together and agreed to focus on measures that will help the industry navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside our overall objective of transforming ATM. This is an important step as we redefine our future and the approach we need to take.”

CANSO’s AGM also saw the announcement of the new Executive Committee Chair, Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe, who currently serves as Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Meanwhile on 19 October the Chair Teams of the CANSO European Safety Directors Group (CESAF) and the EUROCONTROL Safety Team signed a cooperation agreement which will comprise various types of activities, including: exchange of safety-related information; sharing expertise and best practice; cross-participation in working groups; and coordinating engagement with regulatory and legislative authorities, vendors and media.

Swiss ANSP partners with Rohde & Schwarz for future voice communications systems

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Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider (ANSP) has selected Rohde & Schwarz CERTIUM voice communication system (VCS) to rationalise its voice communications architecture and meet future air traffic control (ATC) operations requirements.

The new VCS will be implemented under the umbrella of the skyC@T project and will be a Swiss-wide solution. Depending on the options, it will replace four to seven legacy VCS.

Described as the ‘perfect match’ for Skyguide’s demanding requirements CERIUM VCS-4G provides native VoIP services through a Swiss-wide redundant VCS. The system simplifies and rationalises the overall voice communications architecture, making use of state-of-the-art technologies, including virtualised applications and service-oriented infrastructures with country wide distribution of system components. It can also be seamlessly integrated into Skyguide’s existing communications environment.

We selected CERTIUM VCS for skyC@T, due to its capacity and cost effectiveness. It allows us to redesign the overall VCS architecture and to align it with the latest industry standards and technologies.

Stephan Meister, Skyguide’s Head of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance.

Heinz School, Managing Director of Roschi Rohde & Schwarz AG added: “Our team is very proud to have been selected by Skyguide with its worldwide reputation for best practices in ATC. With our strong local expertise in the implementation of demanding projects and value-based systems maintenance, we see ourselves as a long-term partner to Skyguide, jointly building and supporting Skyguide’s new and future-proof VCS backbone.”

Header image:  Rohde & Schwarz CERTIUM VCS selected by Skyguide for skyC@T

The ATM industry looks towards a digital European sky

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The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has welcomed the European Commission’s proposal on the Single European Sky (SESII+) as an opportunity to realise a more digital European air traffic management (ATM) sector.

The proposal addresses issues such as the role of the Network Manager, liberalisation of the market for air traffic data services, submission of performance plans under the Performance and Charging Scheme, modulation of air navigation charges, a new regulator role for the Performance Review Body, and fair pricing for information services for U-Space and drones. According to CANSO a reformed legislative framework will help air navigation services providers (ANSPs) to provide the increased capacity and scalability required by customers and airspace users in the future. It will also offer more environmentally efficient flight trajectories.

“While safety will always remain our number one priority,” said Tanja Grobotek, CANSO’s Director Europe Affairs, “CANSO’s vision is of an ATM industry that is customer-focused, market-driven, anticipative and responsive in addressing future challenges such as traffic growth and sustainability. with this proposal, we hope we can work with the EU institutions and other aviation stakeholders towards the best possible framework to help us achieve this ambition.”

Micro Nav delivers ATC simulator for Air Navigation and Weather Services in Taiwan

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Contracted by Saab, Micro Nav has delivered a 360° 3D air traffic control (ATC) simulator to Taiwan Air Navigation and Weather Services (ANWS). It includes full integration with the Saab Integrated ATC suite (I-ATS) operational system. The 360° 3D tower solution includes Micro Nav’s Automatic Display Alignment System (ADAS), which aligns the projected display automatically, removing the need for third parties or specialist staff.

The new simulator was required to support the movement of ATC operations from the old Taiwan Taoyuan Airport tower, to the new tower. The solution also provides the capability to perform ATCO training on the Saab I-ATS Controller Working Positions, while presenting the simulated out-the-window tower view.

Since installation, the simulator has already proven to be invaluable, enabling us to familiarise our ATC trainees with procedures and the operational environment easily and swiftly, and strengthen our operational ATCOs’ ability and response in handling various scenarios including adverse weather and emergency situations. We also utilise the simulator as a means to assess, evaluate and refine operational procedures before implementation.

Chen Wen-Te, Chief of Taipei Tower at ANWS, Taiwan.

Micro Nav’s Beginning to End for Simulation and Training (BEST) software provides simulated traffic, while enabling pseudo pilots to control aircraft and vehicles. The delivered products include BEST Tower, BEST 3D, BEST Link and BEST 3D Create to enable ANWS staff to create and update their own airfields.

Commenting on the project, Richard Bonner, Operations Director at Micro Nav, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with ANWS and Saab on this project. The level of collaboration and professionalism throughout was fantastic.”

CANSO partners with Micro Nav to support ANSPs

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The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has partnered with Micro Nav to support CANSO’s air navigation service providers (ANSPs) members as air traffic services prepare to resume. The prolonged lack of air traffic as a result of COVID-19  has led to a number of challenges, including the provision of training.

The partnership sees Micro Nav making the full capabilities of their air traffic control (ATC) radar and tower simulator available as a cloud-based tool to CANSO members to help air traffic controllers maintain their services.

CANSO’s Director General, Simon Hocquard believes the partnership will provide significant value to its members and will enable them to be as prepared as possible for the restart and recovery. “The partnership is another great example of organisations collaborating to safeguard the resiliency of our industry and to build a better future together,” he said.

The BEST ATC simulation platform will be available to member ANSPs until the end of November 2020, along with associated online training and technical support, to enable users to maximise the benefit of this tool for their recovery.

“Our vision, to make a positive difference to the world through simulation, has never been so appropriate as during these times,” said Micro Nav’s Managing Director, Greg Pile.