Prag Control TowerOperational Benefit Evaluation by Testing an A-SMGCS
To manage and to optimise the still growing air traffic the ATM system in Europe has to be improved by harmonisation and installation of new technologies together with the adequate operational procedures. The increasing problems in air traffic (delays, high environmental impact, capacity bottlenecks, etc.) lead to very large costs that are ultimately borne by the individual passenger and the European community as a whole.
One of the areas identified as needing to be enhanced by better organisation, tools and adequate operational procedures is the airport. Regarding the air side the solution is known under the international accepted term Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) to be regarded as the link system between landing and take-off.
The A-SMGCS concept is based on a highly integrated modular open system built around existing tower and airport equipment enhanced by new technologies. Improved information exchange in order to provide reliable and consistent data as well as decision support tools (planning support systems, etc.) are part of the concept. Although the human (controller, pilot) is kept in the loop as the decision maker, it is expected that in order to gain the highest benefit from the system there will be changes in the human's role. These changes will require careful evaluation to provide a safe, efficient and smooth transition.
The A-SMGCS architecture, the availability of the technology, the demonstration of the feasibility and the principal potential of benefits for the user groups has been worked out during recent years (e.g. several tasks in the 4th Framework Programme) or have been covered by other current projects. Building upon that work BETA is contributing to the development by showing operational benefits for users in a real operational airport environment. In the context of this project airlines, airports and ATC providers are members of the consortium representing the user groups due to the fact that the primary benefit of the A-SMGCS implementation will appear there and the indirect beneficial effects (e.g. reduced ticket costs, no missed connecting flight) are transferred to the European citizens through them.
BETA is explicitly designed as follow on action to the airport projects performed in the 4th Framework programme in order to benefit from the previous work and to support the early implementation into the daily work of air traffic controllers, pilots and other operators at airports.
The main objectives of the BETA project are to:
The results are expected to support the work of various aeronautical standardisation and harmonisation bodies (AOPG/PT2, EUROCAE WG-41, etc.).
BETA is dedicated to real airport implementation and test trials, where other projects are dealing with extensive real time simulations. Licensed controllers and pilots trained in the use of the new systems will be involved in testing in order to gain realistic results. Scheduled airport traffic and additional test traffic (specific test aircraft and test vehicles) will be used.
The project will be based on the analysis of the operational concept, the implementation of A-SMGCS adapted systems and procedures in order to validate the benefits through field trials. Therefore, the BETA corner stones are
The work is split into three main lines which are followed in parallel:
From the conception work and the test validation work, results on different levels are expected as follows:
So, the output of this project will support the direct implementation process of A-SMGCS, a clear view on the necessary further work, the standardisation process, the user acceptance process and the world market preparation for European companies.
The BETA work performed so far resulted in several lessons learned for the A-SMGCS development. An extension to the current view of the A-SMGCS concept which mainly reflects the following four key functions:
A uniform information basis is the fundamental principle for data exchange between the different A-SMGCS systems and responsible for airport traffic management in the future. Today every controller’s working position (CWP) has only a minimum of information to control the aircraft within his/her part of responsibility. Very often this is generated several times in a sub-optimal way (e.g. reading data from a system and re-typing the data into another system). Additional information can be requested by telephone or additional computers for example. The complete A-SMGCS system has to ensure the availability of all information which can be selected at the CWP due to its part of controlling because real planning, guidance and control depends on a complete and consistent set of data of all flights from departure to arrival. This was clearly shown during the first tests of BETA.
Schematic diagram of the BETA installation at the Prague Airport RuzyneBETA testing is dedicated to consider the technical system aspects as well as the use of the new technology. To gain performance data in terms of technical specification and in terms of adequate procedures the tests are structured in two main parts: the functional tests and the operational tests. The functional tests are the basis for analysing the technical characteristics of the system parts and the installation conditions. The operational tests will show the benefit for the users by using the BETA system as a (partly prototype) implementation of a complete A-SMGCS in a real operational environment.
In the picture the A-SMGCS functions realised in BETA and implemented at the test sites are outlined: The Surveillance Data Server as the main source for the controller situation display based on non co-operative Sensors as the Surface Movement Radar (SMR), the Near Range Radar Network (NRN) and co-operative sensors as Mode-S, Differential GPS, Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR). It also gets data from the Airport and ATC Information Systems to complete the situation awareness of the controller and to ensure to fit the installed Ground Data Planning System (GDPS) for Departure Managing (D-MAN) and Routing Function. In addition some vehicles are equipped with a Datalink to show the possibility of future guidance functionality. Centre line lights, stop bars and signs are also considered as ground based guidance means.
© Copyright Notice This document and the information contained herein is the property of Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, Ceská správa letist, Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium, Athens University of Economics and Business, QinetiQ, British Airways, BAE Systems Ltd, Deutsche Flugsicherung, Hamburg Airport, Park Air Systems AS, ERA, HITT, Thales ATM and the European Commission (EC). Any reproduction or other use of this material shall acknowledge the BETA project, the companies involved and the EC as the information sources.