Starting June 6, 2003, the new European AIS database (EAD) from Eurocontrol will contribute to increase flight safety by improving the quality and time-critical availability and accessibility of aeronautical information.
Aeronautical information services (AIS) have to be improved and developed over the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) area to provide a harmonized, coordinated service that delivers quality- assured information for all phases of flight. Until now, the AIS data providers processed and distributed data to everyone in every country. This operational structure represented an enormous amount of paperwork and included many risks:
Incoherence of cross-border information,
Inconsistent quality of data,
A lack of interoperability between systems due to different data models and exchange formats, and
Problems in ensuring the timely distribution of aeronautical information updates.
The duplication of processes was another issue. The operational structure represented a high cost for all those involved, including in maintenance.
With the introduction of EAD, the aviation community will have access to a central database, which will be fed information continuously by each ECAC state. The countries will be responsible for maintaining the information in this database.
The EAD database includes dynamic data, such as worldwide notices to airmen (NOTAMs), as well a the static data required to validate these NOTAMs and produce the preflight information bulletins and the ECAC aeronautical information publications (AIPs). The complete set of static data published in the AIPs for ECAC states will be available in the coming months.
Eurocontrol designed EAD with the objective of ensuring high-quality data, through multilevel consistent data checking processes, as well as through the online, timely and efficient electronic distribution of aeronautical information. All the data available through EAD is produced, validated and continuously updated by the data providers in the states.
To keep access costs to a minimum, EAD offers various possibilities, depending on what the airspace users want to achieve with the data and on the level of its own organization’s development. The system offers professional users many data applications. The users can include aircraft operators, data providers, international organizations, private pilots, commercial users and members of the general public. The extended application package is available through commercial software packages. A limited version of the EAD service is available for free via the Internet.
EAD successfully managed the challenge to assimilate the airspace industry’s heterogeneous environment. EAD is multilingual and multicultural. It also works with different technologies and different procedures. EAD integrates 14 subsystems (partially updated commercial products), the applicable AIS standards, and the requirements of the 38 ECAC states into one homogenous system. It is the establishment of a European AIS corporate identity.
The primary beneficiaries of the EAD are the air navigation service providers (ANSP) and the airspace user community from the ECAC member states. EAD also will be used by airlines that are based outside the ECAC area and by commercial organizations that use the aeronautical information to provide value-added services and products.
All the data in the database will be quality-assured and fully compliant with all relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules. Eurocontrol partners in the development and operation of the EAD service are Frequentis Nachrichtentechnik GmbH and GroupEAD Europe SL. For more information about EAD, visit www.eurocontrol.int.
Sylviane Wybo is the EAD program manager at Eurocontrol.