TITAN – Questions and Answers

On 30/11/2012, in TITAN, by steve

With the TITAN project now officially closed, we decided to bring you a set of questions and answers, in case you want a quick overview of what TITAN was all about. You can find all titan documents on the official website here. The TITAN video is available here.

What is TITAN? – Turnaround Integration in Trajectory and Network (TITAN) is an FP7 funded EU collaborative project that developed an advanced operational concept for the turnaround process to improve predictability, flexibility, efficiency and cost effectiveness and to provide common situational awareness to the actors involved in the process.

How does TITAN relate to A-CDM? – TITAN is aligned with and complements A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making) as it aims for an even better management of the turnaround. TITAN will use the procedures and rules established for A-CDM supplemented by those specifically developed for the turnaround. Besides the A-CDM milestones, a set of turnaround-specific milestones have been defined to support the monitoring of the turnaround process.

How does TITAN relate to SESAR? – The TITAN operational concept is not only compatible with but in many ways is complementary to the SESAR Concept of Operations. It addresses those details that were not specifically elaborated in the SESAR CONOPS.

What are the most important new features that TITAN incorporates? – For the first time ever, the aircraft turnaround is described in a process-based, service oriented manner. The concept is built around the principles of Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) and makes full use of System Wide Information Management (SWIM) if available, while being compatible also with the legacy environment.

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The big ACARS scare, air/ground digital link and the iPad. What is the connection?

On 29/11/2012, in Buzzwords explained, by steve

It is really amazing how things go full circle and if you wait long enough, history repeat itself… even in air traffic management terms. There will be some amongst our readers who still remember how the saga of air/ground digital link began in the late 80s, early 90s.

Back then, at about the same time, airline experts and air traffic management planners, independently of each other, came to some scary conclusions affecting their communications equipment.

ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) was becoming an essential tool for the world’s leading airlines and with its increasing use came the specter of frequency congestion and an inability to access the service on a timely basis. In particular, Lufthansa was a big advocate of the need to solve this problem as soon as possible.

Of course we were still before 9/11 and the world economic crisis and traffic demand forecasts were showing a solid 5-6 % growth year on year. Air traffic control centers were already working at peak capacity and it was easy to see that even if various systems enhancements, including decision making support for the controllers, were introduced, beyond a certain traffic density and complexity there would simply not be sufficient talk time available for the controller to communicate with the aircraft teeming in their airspace. Some new features, like trajectory based operations and anything else requiring complex clearances, could not even be considered because of voice communications related safety concerns. Some States, under the leadership of EUROCONTROL, started work on air/ground digital link and CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Digital Link Communications), a system that replaces voice communications with text messages, substantially increasing the amount of information that can be safely exchanged between ground and air even in very dense and complex traffic conditions.

The answer to both problems was VDL Mode 2/ATN. Of course things did not just line up without problems, but that is another story which you can read here.

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Airbus to trial automated airborne separation. Free Flight… not such a crazy idea after all?

On 28/11/2012, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

It is nearly two decades ago that the idea of Free Flight first surfaced in discussions about the future of air traffic management. To put it simply, free flight means an environment in which air traffic control transfers responsibility for separation to the pilots. It may sound outlandish but simulation after simulation has shown that it not only safe and works but that it also brings previously unheard of efficiency to operations, particularly if combined with trajectory based operations.

Predictably the reaction of the ATC unions was hostile. They saw in this a backdoor attack by the airlines on their very profession and not the paradigm change the concept of free flight actually is. Luckily, research institutes and the more enlightened controller population recognized the potential of the new approach and work continued on exploring the details and possible pitfalls.

The very name free flight gave rise to heated debates and new designations were invented on an almost weekly basis. ASAS was the first version, which was supposed to mean Airborne Separation Assurance System. Controllers protested… so it was changed to Airborne Separation Assistance System…

In the course of ASAS work, several modes of operation were defined, each relating to specific separation assurance activities by the flight crew. It was felt, correctly, that taking smaller, incremental steps towards all-out free flight would be more realistic than aiming for the top prize immediately.

There was a huge fight during the SESAR definition phase whether or not the free flight concept should be included in the concept of operation. At one point a young guy from the French ATC organization went so far in a meeting as actually put up his hand and then shout at me: Steve, what you are saying is completely stupid. His boss later apologized and poor chap was removed from the team…

Anyway, ASAS was included in the SESAR Conops and now Airbus has come with a trial to have three Air France shuttle flights perform their approach into Toulouse under the guidance of a fully automated separation assurance system enabling them to maintain in-trail separation designed to maximize approach efficiency and increase capacity.

Previously considered mainly the domain of en-route operations, in-trail separation assurance for approach is a bold, novel step that can potentially revolutionize TMA operations.

In SESAR parlance, the system is dubbed ASPA which stands for ASAS Spacing and is meant to deliver consistent runway throughput via delegating certain separation tasks to the cockpit. The separation tasks are then carried out by the automation built into the aircraft.

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Jeppesen-Designed Arrival Procedures to Bring Efficiencies of Performance Based Navigation to Denver International Airport

On 28/11/2012, in PBN, by steve

RNAV RNP arrivals designed by Jeppesen in concert with Denver International Airport, FAA and other stakeholders to improve flow of arrival traffic, reduce pilot and controller workload and lessen  aircraft environmental impact.

Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Flight Services, has collaborated with Denver International Airport (DEN), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders to design and deliver RNAV RNP (area navigation with required navigation performance) based arrivals for DEN. The collaboration brings the benefits of Performance Based Navigation – increased runway throughput; reductions in aircraft fuel burn, greenhouse gas emissions and minimized noise footprints – to the Denver area.

Performance Based Navigation is the foundation of the FAA’s NextGen modernization program, Europe’s SESAR programs and other future air traffic management concepts, which will alleviate much of today’s delays on the ground and in the air. Working with DEN, the FAA, airlines and others, including authorities from Centennial Airport and Rocky Mountain Regional Airport, Jeppesen has designed new arrival procedures that will expedite the flow of traffic arriving at DEN. The new procedures reduce pilot and controller workload and increase aircraft operational efficiency, while at the same time make DEN more neighbor-friendly.

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SWIM is more than an acronym

On 26/11/2012, in SWIM, by steve

Major progress has been made with SESAR’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM), the intranet of the future Air Traffic Management System. At the 2nd SWIM Demonstration day, on 15 November 2012, airports, weather & volcanic ash information providers, airlines and air traffic control centres were able to exchange information instantaneously. This technical demonstration proved the agility and flexibility that SWIM will bring, allowing new collaboration between all actors in the system.

Today’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) system is a patchwork of different types of systems which do not necessarily communicate well one with another. The growing pressure on the aviation industry requires an efficient access to various forms of information, provided and exchanged using a secure and flexible system (an intranet). This is the objective of SWIM.

This second SWIM Demonstration day presented the capabilities of the SWIM technical infrastructure, designed and developed in the context of the SESAR Joint Undertaking work programme. SWIM founding principles of information sharing, service orientation, federation, open standards and information & service lifecycle management were all tested. SWIM enabled 11 different ATM organisations to quickly interconnect 27 prototypes and successfully exchange information on airspace, flights, airports and weather.

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On 22/11/2012, in ATC world, by steve

Last week during the 9th ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Panama City, Panama, aviation associations

signed the Joint Declaration on Airport and Air Navigation Service Infrastructure. The Civil Air

Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), came together with the Airports Council International

(ACI), the Airports Council International – Latin America and Caribbean (ACI-LAC), the Latin

American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), and the International Air Transport

Association (IATA) to urge Latin American and Caribbean Governments to develop air transport

infrastructure to adequately meet the needs of the industry, now and in the future.

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On 22/11/2012, in ATC world, by steve

In his first public address, the newly-appointed Director General of the Civil Air Navigation Services

Organisation (CANSO) Jeff Poole called on the international aviation community assembled at the

12th ICAO Air Navigation Conference to embrace change and collaboration in order to achieve the

long-held vision of a globally harmonised and interoperable air navigation system. Jeff Poole told

guests attending a CANSO-hosted lunch during this once-in-a-decade ICAO event, that he will drive

positive and urgent change to bring about more seamless and efficient management of the airspace.

More than 1,000 delegates are anticipated during the 10-day event that will run from the 19th to the

30th November to agree a new Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) that will guide industry planning

and implementation activities over the next decade. For the first time, a new framework called the

aviation system block upgrades (ASBUs), and a series of technology roadmaps, will guide the

planning of ATM modernisation initiatives and synchronise development of air traffic management

infrastructure globally. CANSO played a key role in identifying these operational improvements and in

gaining commitment for them prior to the Conference.

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New ICAO Flight Plan goes live on 15 November

On 14/11/2012, in Just to let you know..., by steve

The worldwide implementation of ICAO Flight Plan changes take effect this week on 15 November 2012. The amendments to flight plan content go to the very core of flight plan processing.

15 November 2012 is the ultimate deadline: after that date, current or old format flight plan messages will no longer be accepted.

Aircraft Operators were requested to begin filing flight plans in the new format from 12 November onwards, so as to ensure that by 15 November, only new format data are in the systems.

The main changes affect:

– field 10 in the standard flight plan, the section describing the equipment carried by the aircraft (and its capabilities)
– the way in which this information is described in field 18
– the ability to file up to five days in advance of the estimated off-block time (EOBT) using the date of flight (DOF).

Although the changes require system modifications, it is also important to realise that much more information is now needed on the flight’s communication, navigation and surveillance capabilities.

This will have significant impact on anyone who creates or receives flight plan messages: air navigation service providers (ANSPs), aircraft operators, air traffic services reporting offices (AROs) and flight plan service providers.

Click here to read the full article


If the European Commission’s Implementing Rule is not enough to jump-start data link, what is?

On 14/11/2012, in SES News, by steve

At the recent meeting of the Project Steering Group on Data Link, it was revealed that some States will not be able to meet the 7 February 2013 date by which “all LINK Region ANSPs shall have implemented an operational compliant system”. One State actually reported that they will not be ready before 2019!

The Data Link Services Implementing Rule (DLS-IR) was adopted on 16 January 2009 by the European Commission and published as EC Reg. No. 29/2009. The DLS-IR is legally binding and applies directly to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and to Aircraft Operators.

The main deadlines of the IR are as follows:

1 January 2011 – After this date all new aircraft operating above FL 285 shall be delivered with a compliant system.

7 February 2013 – By this date all LINK Region ANSPs shall have implemented an operational compliant system.

5 February 2015 – By this date all aircraft operating above FL 285 shall have been retrofitted with a compliant system.

5 February 2015 – By this date all EU Region ANSPs shall have implemented an operational compliant system.

31 December 2017 – Aircraft which are at least 20 years old and which will cease operation in the concerned airspace before 31 December 2017 are exempt.

1 January 2014 – Aircraft with individual airworthiness certificate before this date that are equipped with Future Air Navigation System (FANS) are exempt for the lifetime of the aircraft. Aircraft entering into service after 1 January 2014 shall comply with the rule.

1 January 2014 – New transport type State aircraft should comply with the rule if equipped with non-military data link.

Since 1 January 2011, all new aircraft are being delivered with VDL Mode 2/ATN compliant avionics and apparently, like so often in the past, they will be carrying their gear and burn the investment for no good reason at all, since the ground capability will not be in place.

Click here to read the full article


Minimizing the risk of midair collisions

On 13/11/2012, in Safety is no accident, by steve

FAA and industry partners have come up with a possible solution to minimize the risk of midair collisions where low-level commercial airliners, general aviation aircraft, military jets, and helicopters all fly together in the same complex airspace.

What do you think about the new prototype VFR navigational chart for the LA Basin? Learn more in the Nov/Dec issue of the FAA Safety Briefing magazine here.


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