The communications related aspects of runway incursions

On 31/03/2010, in Life around runways, by steve

More than two incursions a day…

Few other incidents return with the grim and persistent regularity of runway incursions. A lot of effort by all concerned has resulted in a reduction of the total number of incidents but there are still, on average, more than two runway incursions in Europe per day. Clearly, there remains a lot of work to be done.

But what exactly is a runway incursion? According to the definition provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) a runway incursion is “Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft.”

Of course the words “incorrect presence” cover a wide range of possibilities from part of an aircraft sticking into the protected area to a vehicle or aircraft being entirely in the path of an aircraft landing or taking off. The dangers need no explaining… The reasons why highly trained professionals like pilots and controllers and less well trained but still “aerodrome aware” vehicle drivers make mistakes leading to runway incursions provide a telling story with roots in human psychology, engineering, traffic design, information technology and one may dare to say, on occasion Murphy’s law.

Click here to read the full article


Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM) & Weather Information Exchange Model (WXXM) Conference

On 30/03/2010, in Events, by steve

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will host the second annual Joint AIXM/WXXM Conference on May 4-6, 2010 in Washington DC. The conference is intended for the aeronautical information and aviation meteorological (MET) communities; including software developers, program managers, experts, and users of aeronautical and weather information. The general topic of the conference is Digital Convergence on the Common Operating Picture: the AIXM and WXXM Conference.

For more information and registration, click here.


The tower with a soul… 10

On 29/03/2010, in The tower with a soul, by lajos

New politics, new hopes

The miracle happened in 1989-90. Hungary became independent, a sovereign State with free elections and a multiparty parliamentary democracy. That this also brought with it the darker sides of capitalism did not concern anyone back then. An omission we came to regret later. In short order we had to realize that it was not Paradise that had arrived but unemployment and the world of capital. The cadres who had a comfortable place under the old regime transformed themselves into capitalists, flashing in new guises while they divided the spoils of the transformation among themselves. In other words, the old party apparatchiks allowed the peaceful transition into a new system because they saw a stable future for themselves. They did co-opt a few new faces to make the rest of the population believe that a change had indeed taken place but the old cadres were very much present in the leadership of all the new parties.

There was only one good thing about it all, the Russian occupation force left the country (of course nowadays there are many more Russians in the country but they are tourists).

Completing the Russian withdrawal

The trouble was, in their new-found freedom the Hungarians dismantled most everything that actually worked well under the previous regime, something they should have thought over a bit more. We found out that our nation is better at destroying than building things.

Click here to read the full article


Interesting people, unusual flight plans…

On 26/03/2010, in Interesting people, by steve

Christophe Hamel – Always listen to the inner voice!

After many years in aviation, Christophe is also an entrepreneur in the wellness and lighting industries.

What were you dreaming of becoming when you were a kid?

I was thinking of becoming a pilot and at age 15 or so, of being the owner of a night club or a recording studio: I am passionate about sound and music. But my real passion has always been designing things, you know, creating something new, whether, a lamp design, new sound equipment, new way of managing major programs, new strategies in the CNS/ATM area, new technologies, making something new that was never seen before.

What moved you to become part of the aviation family?

My dad was a geologist and he had to travel far and wide, as people of his profession do. On one occasion, the plane he was on had to make an emergency landing in the Sahara and they waited 3 days to be rescued. From then on he was really terrified of flying but his interest in the development of aviation and in particular the creation of l’Aeropostale remained. He read everything he could find about Saint-Exupery, Mermoz, Gullaumet and of course he told us all about those great aviators and this left a deep impression in me. This connection to l’Aeropostale stayed with me also a little… I delivered their first 737-300 cargo aircraft!

When I got my electronic and computer engineering degree I went to work in industry but soon after specialized in aeronautical engineering sealing my fate… I finally got an FAA private pilot license in 2005.

What were the most significant sideways jumps in your professional life?

Click here to read the full article


29th DASC – Abstract Submittal Deadline Has Been Extended to April 5th

On 25/03/2010, in Events, by steve

Excitement for this year’s conference is building and the organizers have decided to give you a little more time to get your abstracts submitted. They will be setting up the tracks and sessions following the April 5th deadline.

You will receive an abstract acceptance/rejection notice following their review and completion of the track/session organization.

Submit your abstracts online today here.


Session Chairs Needed

The 29th DASC is seeking motivated individuals to serve as Session Chairs. This role allow you to actively participate in shaping the DASC and provide great global networking opportunities with companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies (U.S. and international). Please contact Chris or Tom if you are interested in assuming one of these roles.

Chris Watkins, Technical Program Chair
Tom Redling, Technical Program Co-Chair


For more information, visit the DASC website here.


SWIM – proper terminology at last?

On 25/03/2010, in SWIM, by steve

During the SESAR definition phase we had to spend a lot of time explaining to the various authors that talking about System Wide Information Management (SWIM) using the old terminology is counter productive and will only make the documents more difficult to understand (and easier to misunderstand). Let me explain.

For some reason, most people thought that down-linking data from an aircraft was the thing to do and they used this term also in the SWIM context not realizing that down-linking is an action you undertake to achieve something and in concept level descriptions you need to specify first what you want to achieve and then talk about the “how” later. An aircraft in the air will publish its information so that those interested will learn about it and those looking for it can find it. Users who need the information will subscribe to it and hence will also get it. By using the term down-linking instead of publishing, writers did manage to create the impression that aircraft will be sending down loads of data to every imaginable destination… This is not the SWIM way of working and shows clearly why proper terminology is important if we want to see the correct picture.

Click here to read the full article


Registration Now Open for the 10th ICNS Conference

On 24/03/2010, in Events, by steve

Conference registration here.

Hotel reservation here.

Discounted registration is good through May 1, 2010 for this May 11-13 event at the Westin Washington Dulles Hotel.

Additional discounts are available for AIAA and IEEE members.

The Technical Program is overfull, with almost 100 technical papers slated to be presented. Each day starts with a Plenary session.

Both the Technical Program and Plenary program will be available soon on the conference web site.

A social event is planned for Wednesday afternoon (May 14th) starting with a special tour of the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center followed by a hosted reception at the hotel.

Don’t miss the early bird discount and a chance to network, update your CNS program knowledge, see the latest from our sponsors and enjoy a distinguished slate of speakers discussing the issues of the day.

Hotel Room Block Open Until April 19th

  • The room block is limited, so please make your reservations by April 19, 2010.
  • Registered guests can also modify or cancel a reservation until the event date.


Strategic Lateral Offset Procedure (SLOP)

On 24/03/2010, in SKYbrary News, by steve

News from EUROCONTROL’s aviation safety knowledge base SKYbrary

The accuracy of modern en-route navigation has increased the risk of a mid-air collision where 2 aircraft are on the same ATS Route and one or both of them has either been issued a clearance in error, or is not operating in accordance with a clearance. As a mitigation, Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures (SLOPs) have been established which significantly reduce the potential for a collision when applied correctly. NATS has recently issued a reminder to operators using SLOPs in the North Atlantic, explaining the safety benefits of the procedure.

To read the article in SKYbrary, click here.

To read a related article on Roger-Wilco, click here.


Oceanic airspace, the proving ground for future separation techniques

On 23/03/2010, in Viewpoint, by steve

It was more than a decade before SESAR that I first heard the term “free flight”, a new paradigm for separating aircraft that would replace concentrated decision making with a distributed one by giving the flight crew the responsibility for ensuring separation between their aircraft. This is the normal state of affairs for VFR flights or flights in uncontrolled airspace, but “free flight” is meant for the big league, IFR flights in what is to-day called controlled airspace. Free flight techniques were being looked into as advanced methods for increasing capacity. The abbreviation ASAS was born at about the same time and stood for Airborne Separation Assurance System, basically a more scientific sounding name for free flight.

Jane's Airport Review, March 2010

The reaction of air traffic controllers and certain ATC experts was immediate, fierce and damning. It did not help that the idea of free flight originated from the airlines, with Lufthansa and American Airlines being its biggest proponents. The message from ATC was clear: over our dead bodies.

Click here to read the full article


SWIM – How much information should we be sharing?

On 22/03/2010, in CDM, SWIM, by steve

I would like to propose a simple rule: anybody asking how much information we should be sharing in air traffic management should have their Christmas bonus cancelled… Here is why.  

System Wide Information Management (SWIM) is the concept and set of rules, procedures and other needed elements that underpin the net-centric approach of the new air traffic management environment being built by SESAR in Europe and NextGen in the USA.

In a nutshell, the SWIM concept stipulates that the traditional and cumbersome point to point connections be replaced by a solution where those with data to share (i.e. data useful to the ATM community) publish the fact that they have this data (as well as any updates to it of course) and those who need that data simply go search for it or subscribe to it to avoid having to search. This arrangement assumes a kind of directory service not unlike that used on the internet and which helps you find your favorite movie title as it were. Don’t be offended by the comparison, in the world of networking, a movie title or a flight plan are not that different, they are both data. The difference is how we protect and handle the data but that is another story.

You will have noticed the fundamental difference between to-day’s approach to data dissemination and the one being proposed by SWIM.

Click here to read the full article


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