Integrated Robot Loading at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

On 25/01/2012, in CDM, by steve

With CDM starting to look increasingly towards the land-side of airports to optimize passenger flow processes in order to have a more predictable aircraft turnaround, it is not surprising that hitherto less visible processes, like baggage handling, are also coming under increasing scrutiny to find opportunities for improvements. Long labor intensive, baggage handling is taking important strides towards higher levels of automation, something that will fit nicely into the information managed environment of the future collaborative decision making environment.

The Integrated Robot Loading concept that was implemented at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s South baggage hall to create a smarter baggage system, was implemented by Vanderlande Industries and Grenzebach Automation The “Baggage on Demand concept” or pull-concept using batching and automatic baggage loading robots gives airports the ability to manage the growing amount of baggage in an ergonomic and cost efficient way.

Baggage make-up is the loading of ramp-carts and containers, which are driven to an airplane just before departure. In the Baggage on Demand concept, all baggage from check-in and transferring bags are first buffered in a storage facility, and then sent to a robot on demand. The robot loads the ramp-carts and containers automatically. The LTM (Logistics Transport Manager) manages the baggage flows in the system, and the robot replaces the muscle power of the workforce. This concept has first been deployed as part of the 70MB program at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, is future-proof, and is intended primarily to raise efficiency and reduce heavy manual labor. The Baggage on Demand operation handles the bulk of the daily baggage volume.

Click here to read the full article


RIASS in Amsterdam – What is this?

On 30/11/2011, in Life around runways, by steve

RIASS stands for Runway Incursion Alerting System Schiphol and it is a system to warn air traffic controllers in the tower of an imminent danger involving the un-authorized presence of an aircraft or vehicle on a take-off runway or landing runway already in use.

The system was developed by Air Traffic Control the Netherlands and the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) to further improve ground safety by reducing the incidence of runway incursions. It is a supplement to current technologies and procedures designed to prevent unsafe situations around runways.

RIASS has further improved safety at a time when air traffic volume is increasing, the runway system has been expanded, the number of crossings has increased, and the passage of aircraft and vehicles through the manoeuvring area has intensified. All take-off runways and landing runways at Schiphol are currently equipped with the RIASS system.

John Schaap, Director of Operations of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands: ‘Safety comes first in the services provided by Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, and the new system is an example of innovation and an active safety policy. The RIASS system has essentially given air traffic controllers an extra pair of eyes that allows them to monitor the moving aircraft and vehicles on the manoeuvring area even more closely.’

Click here to read the full article


EUROCONTROL cancels CDM group meeting

On 12/10/2011, in CDM, by steve

When the mail arrived announcing that EUROCONTROL was cancelling the upcoming CDM group meeting due to severe cuts in their budget, I was not really surprised. This was almost expected as part of what appears to be the killing off of EUROCONTROL. That the CDM group was one of the more successful activities was of course not enough to save the meeting.

Since the announcement, scores of posts appeared on various LinkedIn groups, most of them critical of the decision and regretting this short-sighted action. At least one commenter “reassured” us that this was the way the future will go, the stakeholders want to scale back EUROCONTROL and the ANSPs will take over the coordination of things.

In all the rightful indignation we should not forget a few additional interesting facts that all have a bearing on what is happening to EUROCONTROL to-day. Since I have been there from pretty early on, sharing the time as an ANSP rep and later as an IATA rep, I do have a peculiar perspective which I would like to share with you. Why are these facts important? Because by recognizing them we can hopefully design more effective remedies. So here goes:

1. EUROCONTROL was not perfect. BUT it had many excellent projects, truly forward looking initiatives most of which were consistently slowed down or killed by the stakeholders. I have been in many high level meetings where things got hammered for no other reason but that one or more big ANSPs were not ready to do “it”. Believe it or not, air/ground digital link work in the early phases would have been killed had we not organized a very strong protest… There are more examples.

2. There has been a wrestling match between EUROCONTROL and the EC for a long time. Things got a bit more balanced when the EC burned their fingers in the initial FAB and SES activity caused by the same reluctant stakeholders who were keeping EUROCONTROL from performing properly.

3. It is an open secret that there are certain ANSPs in Europe who have maintained for a long time that they could do a better job of ATM than EUROCONTROL does, being especially critical of the CFMU. The current financial squeeze is not the first initiative to kill EUROCONTROL (but is probably the most effective yet).

4. Giving EUROCONTROL the role of Network Manager is a smokescreen and an incredible affront to the industry. Since EUROCONTROL does not get any additional powers to make things happen (so it will be nothing like the Command Centre in the US), it will be a toothless tiger… Possibly in a few years time it will be established that EUROCONTROL is not being very effective as the Network Manager, so it can disappear completely. Clever… Click here to read the full article


Amsterdam’s SARA – an important step towards the future

On 16/05/2011, in The future is now, by steve

If you read the current SESAR documentation, you cannot fail to notice one of the more serious misunderstandings that still prevail in the project. In SESAR terminology, ATM progress goes from time-based operations to trajectory based operations (TBO) and then to performance based operations. This reveals the, oft bemoaned, confusion between TBO and performance based operations. Under PBO we will still be using the TBO paradigm… But never mind, that will be the subject of another article.

This time round I would like to introduce to you a new development, a true time-based operations gem that goes under the name SARA (Speed and Route Advisor) and which will be implemented in the Amsterdam FIR starting in 2012 with the functionality expanding stepwise in the following period.

So what is SARA and what does it do?

One of the big capacity guzzler in busy TMAs is the unpredictability and instability of the arriving stream of aircraft. The numerous conflicts require constant radar vectors and radio traffic, resulting in high workload for both pilots and controllers as well as often inefficient trajectories. Developing an effective arrival management system is a real challenge.

The objective of SARA is to give advice on speed and/or routing to (Upper) Area Controllers in order to achieve the planned arrival time(s) of the aircraft over fixes (and implicitly via the Inbound Planning (IBP) function over the runway threshold).

Click here to read the full article


SESAR at ATC Global 2011 – Connecting vision with reality

On 09/03/2011, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

Roger-Wilco was given a special opportunity to interview SESAR’s Chief Program Officer on the occasion of ATC Global 2011 and in particular in connection with SESAR Release 1, being presented as the most important SESAR deliverable for the year.

Florian Guillermet talks to editor Steve Zerkowitz.

Roger-Wilco: Looking at the details of SESAR Release 1, one sees that this is basically a very big and complex validation exercise. We have seen such things, even if possibly not on this scale, in past programs like EATCHIP and ATM2000+.Regrettably, not much came from those… What is the difference now, what makes everyone confident that this time things will work out better?

Mr. Guillermet: There are three important differences compared with past exercises:

• Clearly defined scope
• Clearly defined time-frame
• Close control by the SJU

Let me explain. The operational concept of SESAR is very ambitious and it can only be achieved if there is a clear focus on what has to be done and in what time frame. The elements of Release 1 have been carefully selected to ensure an initial maturity level that lends itself to development to a pre-industrialization state. This selection process was carefully controlled by the SJU so no pet-projects, be it on an organizational or personal level, were allowed in if they did not meet the agreed, stringent selection criteria.

Click here to read the full article


What everyone is waiting for – Details of SESAR Release 1

On 01/03/2011, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

Without any doubt the most anticipated news at ATC Global (which will be held next week in Amsterdam) is details about SESAR’s Release 1.

Those of you attending the event, look for the brochure with this cover. Those who are not so fortunate, come to Roger-Wilco and you will be able to download the brochure from around lunch-time next Tuesday, 8 March.

Roger-Wilco will be at ATC Global and we will be bringing you an exclusive interview with Florian Guillermet who is as near to this SESAR Release 1 as you can get. Needless to say, we will also be reporting from the SESAR session where Release 1 will be presented in detail.

Stay tuned and check back often.


ATC Global – Separating the vision from the reality?

On 27/01/2011, in Events, by steve

My apologies but I stole that title from the ATC Global 2011 web site. I did this because I wanted to make sure that their slogan for the year is an error and not what the industry will get dished out at the event itself. Separating the vision from the reality is an ominous thing to say… Is it not so that first you have a vision and then you go through all the kinks and bends so that in the end you realize that vision? SESAR and NextGen both have a vision and I do not think they would want to see a future reality that has been separated from their vision!

When you go to the registration page, things are a bit better: A single global ATM system – The vision and the reality. But this is still a slogan that on first sight suggests that there may be something wrong with the vision…

Why did they not say “From vision to reality?”

With SESAR promising to present details of Release 1 at ATC Global one can only hope that the conference slogans are just an unfortunate mistake and not a heads-up about what is to come…


ATC Global 2011 – Amsterdam RAI, 8-10 March 2011

On 15/12/2010, in Events, by steve

Although ATC Global claims to eclipse all other industry events, this yearly jamboree of the ATC “industry” is not judged equally useful by those involved. Through clever marketing and a bit of luck, ATC Global has grown into an event which many feel must be attended (or rather, they feel you cannot afford not to attend) but when asked afterwards how far their benefit expectations have been met, often only silent shrugs are offered. I also know of companies who no longer go there as they do not see any benefit for themselves.

One of the criticisms often heard is that the presentations tend to be along the official lines and as such they provide precious little additional insight into the “real” picture of projects like SESAR or life at EUROCONTROL.

On the other hand, since in spite of its shortcomings, ATC Global draws a lot of visitors, it is a nice opportunity to network and chat up old friends.

If nothing else, you will be right outside Amsterdam and that is certainly a place worth visiting.

You can find all relevant information about ATC Global here.


Getting Knighted for merits in navigation -Theo van de Ven

On 25/11/2010, in Interesting people, by steve

Those who have met Theo van de Ven of KLM will remember him as a gentle guy who nevertheless knows full well what he is about. Always ready to help and to explain things he is the ultimate teacher who is always remembered by his pupils and colleagues alike.

He is currently working at KLM’s ATM Strategy and Charges department which is a part of Flight Ops in Amsterdam.

18 November Theo was giving a presentation to the CROS (Schiphol Regional Coordination Commission) and when he finished, to his huge surprised, the Mayor of Haarlemmermeer, acting on behalf of the Queen, elevated him to the title of Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau. He was awarded this honor for his extraordinary contribution to the progress of aeronautical navigation.

Click here to read the full article


A kid in the tower, a pilot without license and other things

On 08/03/2010, in Viewpoint, by steve

The unprecedented success of the air transport industry is due mainly to the spectacular improvements in safety booked overt the years. True, the convenience of being able to travel to the other end of Europe for a meeting and back the same day count for a lot, but without the safety factor, few passengers would accept the hassle of endless security queues and legroom appropriate for the shortest 10 % of the population only.

The exemplary safety record is the result of constant vigilance, safety management systems and the responsible attitudes of those working with or around aircraft.

Any disturbance that could negatively affect safety or even the perception of safety would be a disaster to the industry on a scale that would dwarf the effects of the recent financial meltdown in the world.

In a well running system complacency is one of the biggest dangers while it is also one of the most basic treats of the human character. Fighting complacency must be one of the most important items in any safety manager’s kit.

Recently however we seem to be seeing signs of a disturbing trend.

Click here to read the full article


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