|Cross-border ATC. Photo: SESAR Joint Undertaking
[Avionics Today 09-30-2015] Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) members have recently carried out a series of validations on a solution to facilitate interoperability between Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems and the network manager in Europe. This is a cornerstone solution in the SESAR project, which will allow the continuous exchange of up-to-date and consistent flight information between all ground actors at all stages of the flight.
Currently, when an aircraft leaves the airspace of one air traffic control center and enters another, the adjacent centers use an On-Line Data Interchange (OLDI) mechanism and voice communications to share flight information. Centers downstream are provided with up-to-date information from the network manager in order to organize their airspace until OLDI passes the data required by the controllers to safely work the traffic. With the SESAR solution, the system will be automatically updated with shared information directly from controller inputs. In doing so, this allows flow managers and controllers further along the route to already compare the situation, which will now be much more accurate, with the planned reality, in order to address conflicts and better manage their airspace.
During the latest validations controllers came together from DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung, Direction des Services de la Navigation Aerienne (DSNA), and Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) and carried out a number of tasks, such as revising the flight level, changing frequency and downstream route changes, using the flight object. These were carried out on a platform connecting about 13 systems including prototypes, IBPs and supporting validation infrastructure, and using a blue profile System Wide Information Management (SWIM) infrastructure.
The validations demonstrated the feasibility of using this SESAR solution for basic cross border coordination and negotiation instead of OLDI and voice communications. In their initial feedback, controllers noted how the system would benefit their day-today operations and increase flight predictability. Given the complexity of the system, further research and development will be conducted in the current program (SESAR 1) so that the solution is ready for Europe-wide deployment, as foreseen by the European Union’s Pilot Common Project.