Not all CDM Courses are Created Equal

On 29/12/2014, in CDM, by steve

courseWhen the concept of Collaborative Decision Making was first defined in the United States and subsequently brought over to Europe, it was hailed as one of the cheapest effective ways of improving air traffic management efficiency. We have always stressed that CDM was not a system but a way of working… As years passed, this basic truth was pushed into the background with CDM becoming a rather expensive and often ineffective “product” that many companies viewed as the next cow to be milked for their profit. CDM almost died in the process.

Luckily a few enlightened organizations, including airports and air navigation service providers, went back to the roots and defined CDM in terms that were very close to the original idea and hence they were able to restore the credibility of CDM. This entailed also that only those companies genuinely interested in making decision making better remained in the field.

Europe has booked a number of notable successes in CDM implementation but in spite of that, take-up of CDM in the world was, and continues to be, rather slow. The reasons for this are many but one of them is definitely the fact that people still not convinced of the benefits of CDM are hard pressed to get good, reliable and credible information on the subject.

If you Google “CDM course”, you will be faced with a bewildering choice of courses claiming to tell you all about CDM and why it is the best thing since sliced bread. The range of prices is also incredibly wide…

Closer examination of the courses on offer will reveal, with a few notable exceptions, two things: first, they are more or less based on the original CDM course that was created for EUROCONTROL many years ago and second, they use the European CDM implementations as the proof that CDM works.

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Budapest 2.0: HungaroControl to Participate in an International Research & Development Programme

On 29/12/2014, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

The results of the most recent technological developments are being tested in simulations and actual flights in the framework of the Budapest 2.0 project, organised by a large international collaboration. The programme, scheduled to last for two years, will demonstrate the arrival and departure procedures of the Budapest terminal approach airspace, the remote tower control solution and the extension of the solution that supports continuous descent approach in the Hungarian airspace. The project budget is nearly EUR 2.5 million, 50 percent of which is provided by the European Union’s Single European Sky (SES) programme through its SESAR Joint Undertaking tender.

In the framework of the Budapest 2.0 project, a six-member international consortium is setting up a demonstration environment for the purpose of testing and demonstrating the air navigation developments closely related to the SESAR research and development programme. The aim of the project is to present the technological innovations and procedures that specifically improve the operations of low- and medium-traffic airports, as they help to schedule aircraft arrivals more efficiently, to reduce the number of delayed flights, more economically operate planes and reduce the environmental impact.

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CPDLC Introduction for Romania and Bulgaria Simulated at HungaroControl CRDS

On 29/12/2014, in ATC world, by steve

crdsIn HungaroControl’s CRDS (Centre of Research, Development and Simulation), the various procedures of implementing the CPDLC technology in the Romanian and Bulgarian airspace were put to the test.

In the course of the nearly two-week long series of simulations, the effect of the new data link system on air traffic controllers’ workload and on capacity in the Bulgarian and Romanian airspace was analysed. The findings of the real-time simulation prove that the CPDLC technology will reduce the frequency load used by ATCO’s.

In the course of the real-time simulation called “Danube FAB CPDLC Validation Real-Time Simulation (RTS)”, for the first time in the world, engineers made an accurate copy of the different air traffic control systems used by the air navigation service providers – ROMATSA and BULATSA – of an entire functional airspace block (the Danube FAB). In the environment generated in three months, which is 90% identical with the original, the foreign controllers and experts arriving at Budapest were able to perform the tests with the highest possible efficiency. According to the feedbacks electronically processed so far, the platform copied for the purpose of testing the CPDLC technology recorded every important feature of the Romanian and Bulgarian systems currently in use.

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NextGen Santa Cleared by FAA for Around the World Flight

On 24/12/2014, in ATC world, by steve

SantaTHE NORTH POLE – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspectors, who are working closely with elves on-site, cleared the Santa One sleigh and Candy Cane One to deliver toys to boys and girls throughout the world who’ve been good for goodness sake.

“Because so many boys and girls were nice – not naughty – this year, Santa needs Candy Cane One, a jumbo cargo jet, to resupply him tonight,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “He made a list and, after checking it twice, realized Santa One wasn’t going to be big enough.”

Santa One and Candy Cane One are both equipped with state-of-the-art, satellite-based NextGen avionics that will enable them to fly more directly from the North Pole to the homes of those who don’t pout or cry. The time saved through more efficient flight paths will ensure that everyone who’s sleeping will get their presents. Both Santa One, powered by Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer, and Candy Cane One will, as a result, burn fewer carrots and less fuel, reducing emissions and lessening aviation’s hoof print on the environment.

“Santa told me he’s really looking forward to making the Optimized Profile Descents from cruising altitude to the rooftops, which is just like sliding down a banister instead of making the traditional staircase descent required by ground-based navigational aids,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “He’s had a lot of practice over the years sliding down banisters as he delivers gifts around the world.”

Due to the steep pitch of some roofs, Santa occasionally jumps from Santa One directly into a chimney while Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen hover nearby. At those moments, Santa One becomes an Unmanned Aircraft System, but the FAA has granted authority for Santa to conduct these operations, confident that he will abide by agency regulations. Rudolph will simply wait for Santa to emerge from the chimney since it’s illegal to call him on a cellphone or text while flying. The other reindeer, however, will pass the time by watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on their portable electronic devices.

If you’ve been good – but only if you’ve been good – you may click here to see how Santa is relying on NextGen.

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Celebrating 70 Years of the Chicago Convention

On 13/12/2014, in Anniversaries, by steve

icao

In 1944, delegates from 54 nations gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel in Chicago at the invitation of the United States of America.

At this event, the participants concluded and signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known more popularly as the ‘Chicago Convention’, the defining international agreement which has since permitted the global civil aviation system to develop peacefully and in a manner benefitting all peoples and nations of the world.

Through 2014, ICAO and the global air transport community  commemorated this momentous occasion by convening a series of special events in Montreal and Chicago.

Featuring high-level participation from the host governments of Canada and the United States of America, and representatives from ICAO’s Council and Member States, these proceedings culminated in an Extraordinary Session of the ICAO Council on Monday, 8 December, in the exact same room where the Convention was signed in the Stevens Hotel (now the Chicago Hilton) 70 years ago.

On this occasion, ICAO Council Representatives adopted a Special Resolution paying tribute to the Chicago Convention’s significant contributions to global peace and prosperity through the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation.

The signing of the Convention

The signing of the Convention

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United Airlines Bringing Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus On Board for Flight Attendants

On 10/12/2014, in Airline corner, by steve

appleUnited Airlines has announced that the carrier will equip its flight attendants with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, putting important safety and service information at flight attendants’ fingertips while enhancing their ability to meet customers’ needs.

The airline will begin distribution to its more than 23,000 mainline flight attendants during the second quarter of 2015. Upon introduction, the devices will have the ability to handle most onboard retail transactions and will enable access to company email, united.com and the company’s Intranet as well as policies and procedures manuals.

Future enhancements include replacing the flight attendants’ printed safety manual with an electronic version on their iPhones and providing real-time reporting and improved follow-up on aircraft cabin issues and repairs. Additionally, United plans to develop a number of customer-focused tools for the device.

“We are thrilled to make this investment in our flight attendants,” said Sam Risoli, United’s senior vice president of inflight services. “iPhone 6 Plus will enable them to deliver an even higher level of flyer-friendly service and will offer our flight attendants simple, one-touch access to valuable work information, enabling them to better serve our customers.”

The deployment of iPhone 6 Plus for United flight attendants follows the airline’s deployment of iPads to pilots beginning in 2011, in a move toward creating paperless aircraft and flight decks. United has renewed the iPad pilot program with iPad Air 2.

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Making History

On 08/12/2014, in Tower chronicles, by lajos

In the second half of October 2014 we have been writing history. Controllers from the Aerodrome Control Tower and the Approach Control Unit participated together shift by shift in a half-day training session on incident investigation. Possibly this is business as usual in other countries, but in Budapest it took 30 years to become reality. At long last we have reached the point where the ditch that was dug quite unnecessarily between the two units is finally being filled in.

The need to learn each other’s work better for controllers from the tower and approach units has been hanging in the air for some time. It looks funny in writing and gives one lot’s of food for thought… but how did we work until now? Is this job not all about team-work? Unfortunately the past several decades were all about pulling apart rather than team-work and this was what we got fed up with, with my colleague and friend Gabor Vass. Looking at things from a purely safety perspective, the investigation of a few incidents had made it clear that things had to change, that something had to be done.

In the fall of 2013 we attempted to move things forward, but we only got two hours to discuss together the outcome of several incident investigations. The very positive experience of that event resulted in us getting a full morning this year, something that gave us the opportunity of presenting not only more serious incidents but also interesting cases that fall into the category of improving the quality of air traffic control.

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ATRiCS’ Predeparture Sequencing System in Operation at Stuttgart Airport

On 23/11/2014, in CDM, by steve

On 17 November 2014, Stuttgart Airport became the 13th airport to receive Eurocontrol certification for A-CDM and is now operating as a fully compliant A-CDM Airport.

stuttgart

The ATRiCS Pre-Departure Sequencer (PDS) a core logic module of the A-CDM system has been in service at Stuttgart Airport since 22 July 2014. It is a critical module of the Resource Management System provided by the company INFORM and its subcontractor topsystem. After a successful trial period, the system connected to the Network Manager on 24 September 2014.

Stuttgart Airport joins a pedigree group of leading airports including Frankfurt Airport and Düsseldorf Airport who have been running the ATRiCS Pre-Departure Sequencer successfully in their operations for years now.

Nico Ruwe, project manager Airport CDM, Stuttgart Airport said: “During the test phase the ATRiCS PDS performed to our full satisfaction. It is reliable, robust and stable. We are now not only contributing to the efficiency improvement in the European airspace, but can also confidently expect better predictability in flight operations”.

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FAA Announces NextGen Upgrade for Washington Airspace

On 23/11/2014, in NextGen, by steve

Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that the Washington, D.C. Metroplex is the first in the nation to have three, state-of-the-art, satellite-based highways in the sky running side by side by side, each dedicated to one of the three major airports in the region.

metroplex

“The national capital region is reaping the benefits of NextGen and this announcement further highlights how the federal government is making a difference,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These new and improved highways in the sky mean increased safety, more on time arrivals and departures, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced pollution-causing emissions.”

Estimates predict airlines will burn at least 2.5 million fewer gallons of fuel each year in the skies above Washington, while emitting at least 25,000 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide. Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s energy calculator, this is the equivalent of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 5,263 passenger vehicles or 8,961 tons of waste taken to landfills.

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A nice letter from Air France – KLM

On 11/10/2014, in Airline corner, by steve

klmAlthough BluSky has moved from Air France – KLM to Lufthansa and the Star Alliance as our company’s preferred airline, we are still registered as a BlueBiz member and so get every now and then communications from our old favorite.  Last Wednesday I got a particularly interesting letter from them in my mailbox. I would like to share it with you since this letter shows very well the troubles our industry is facing and how even big companies like KLM are struggling to make a future for themselves. I was particularly struck by the mention of Transavia… this airline, which had seen better days before Air France took over KLM is now slated to compete in the LCC arena. Most analysts believe that this is too little too late and I am afraid they are probably right. Time will tell.

Anyway, here is the letter.

Dear Mr. ZERKOWITZ,

Now that the Air France pilot strike has been ended, we feel it is time for apologies and an explanation and at the same time we want to show you our dedication and appreciation.

First let me begin by offering our sincere apologies for the difficulties caused by the strike. We are sorry if this has affected the activities of your company and your travelers in any way. We are also grateful for the messages of encouragement and support we received from many BlueBiz members.

The issue that lead to the strike situation is the competition AIR FRANCE KLM is facing from low-cost carriers on European routes. To cover the increasing demand for low-cost flights among the public, we need to adapt our offering. A major change that will make us more competitive is the further development of Transavia, AIR FRANCE KLM Group’s low-cost airline. At the same time we will continue to make our large investments in both the Air France and KLM products. The introduction of our new long-haul cabins is a major part of these programs.

More than ever our teams are fully dedicated to a continued and successful partnership into the future with you and your company.

We hope to welcome you and your colleagues back onboard one of our aircraft soon

With kind regards,

Patrick Alexandre
Executive Vice President Commercial
AIR FRANCE KLM 

We wish you luck Air France KLM!

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