A brief SWIM tutorial

On 12/08/2013, in Buzzwords explained, by steve

Before we start… ever wondered where the name SWIM comes from? Click here to find out.

It has been a while since I last wrote about System Wide Information Management (SWIM). In case you are new to this game, here is a brief tutorial that you may find useful.


The management of aeronautical information has developed along two main axes. On the one hand, aeronautical information was being “packaged” as prescribed by ICAO Annex 15 with separate provisions being applicable to meteorological data; on the other, flight plan data being exchanged in accordance with Doc. 4444; and the communications layers being covered by Annex 10. The whole environment reflected the era when paper was the output of most transactions and teletype machines were the means of sending data around.

ATC systems were put in place with little attention to the need for them to talk to each other and airspace user systems grew up on a more or less proprietary basis, with little or no ability to exchange information with ATC systems.

This fragmented and mostly incompatible environment has resulted in a situation where not only efficiency but on occasion even safety is compromised. It is not unusual to have several copies of the same flight plan exist in different ATC systems, each slightly different from the other and neither one correctly reflecting the airspace user’s intentions. Incompatible flight plans across transfer of control boundaries can lead to serious problems.

The implementation of the CFMU did bring some improvement in both standardisation of flight data and the availability of information but many problems remain. ATC systems still do not talk to each other properly, and the standard which is supposed to regulate such transactions is in fact more a collection of options than a standard.

Click here to read the full article


SWIM – Live success at World ATM Congress

On 14/02/2013, in SWIM, by steve

During 3 closed-out demonstration sessions, SESAR partners met at World ATM Congress to demonstrate live the agility and flexibility System Wide Information Management (SWIM) can bring.

Now I understand what SWIM is all about”
“SWIM is becoming a reality”
“Excellent demonstration!”
“This demonstration has shown that with very little effort you can interconnect many different systems if you apply the SWIM principles”.

These are just a few quotes from enthusiastic participants at the SESAR SWIM demonstrations held in Madrid on 12 and 13 February 2013. Throughout 3 sessions gathering over 200 participants, the live demonstrations of SWIM, the intranet of the future, presented the collaborative decision making capabilities of the SWIM technical infrastructure. They tested its capacities of information sharing, service orientation, federation, open standards and information & service lifecycle management.

The demonstrations involved 10 different ATM organisations interconnecting 31 instances and successfully exchanging information on airspace, flights, airports and weather. They proved the benefits of SWIM and how its maturing prototypes are closer to deployment in the near future.
Once more, SESAR is bringing tangible, deployable solutions to the ATM world.

SESAR Members and associate members directly involved in the SWIM Demonstration include DSNA/Meteo France, ENAV/IDS, EUROCONTROL, Frequentis, Honeywell, Indra, NATMIG, NATS, NORACON, SELEX ES and Thales.

Click here for the full demonstration scenario.



Air transport growth and the privacy rules… something has to give.

On 12/12/2012, in CDM, by steve

Information is power. Shared information is efficiency. The right information, at the right place and the right time is what air traffic management of the future needs.

Whether one reads material on collaborative decision making (CDM), system-wide information management (SWIM) or any number of other papers and articles about ATM, the need for quality information, properly shared, keeps coming back. It is not an exaggeration to say that information is one of the pillars that supports efficient and safe air traffic management everywhere.

When the concept of collaborative decision making was first defined in the United States, we faced a lot of opposition from one of the main beneficiaries of CDM, the airlines themselves. They were afraid that sensitive information would fall into the hands of their competitors, putting them at a disadvantage. Assurances that sensitive information would be de-identified and that there would be no danger of sensitive stuff getting into the wring hands did not cut it. They were still reluctant to play. Since this reluctance blocked the sharing of some of the most essential data, a different approach was required. The US CDM group set out to examine every last bit of information classified sensitive (and hence not shared) to establish whether the classification was justified. The idea was that if we could show the owners of the data that they were protecting something that was not sensitive at all, they might change their minds about sharing it.

The slot constrained airport in Philadelphia was losing a lot of capacity because of empty slots created by one of the incumbent airlines frequently cancelling flights but not announcing it to anyone lest a competitor grab their passengers. So the slots were left open until the last minute and when there was no aircraft to fill them, they were lost and so was a part of the airport’s capacity. The airline concerned considered the data on flight cancellations competition sensitive and would not share it with anyone except the smallest circle who could not be avoided. It took some convincing, but in the end they agreed that even if they announced their cancellations in the morning, no competitor could possibly benefit from this knowledge in ways not already available anyhow… From then on, the empty slots taking off in Philly became very scarce and capacity was restored. It was an important lesson. Information is often treated in ways that far exceed its actual level of sensitivity and by remedying this, information sharing can be boosted substantially.

Now, a couple of decades down the road from that famous Philadelphia case, we are once again facing a very similar problem. Privacy rules…

Click here to read the full article


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.

Click here to read the full article


Boeing joins SESAR as an Associate Partner to SELEX

On 19/06/2012, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

Boeing and SELEX Sistemi Integrati, S.p.A – a Finmeccanica company- have entered into a collaboration agreement in support of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program’s development phase

Boeing will cooperate with SELEX Sistemi Integrati with research in flight data modeling and data link communications for all phases of flight, and system-wide information management (SWIM).

“Boeing’s participation as our associate partner will support SESAR towards a globally interoperable air traffic management system,” said Stefano Porfiri, SESAR program manager, SELEX Sistemi Integrati.

The agreement follows a Memorandum of Collaboration signed in October 2011 between Boeing and SELEX Sistemi Integrati in which the two companies agreed to cooperate on the SESAR and U.S. Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) programs.

“We are applying an industry-leading Boeing portfolio of services and expertise to the SESAR program to further the modernization of the global air traffic system,” said Neil Planzer, vice president of Air Traffic Management, Boeing Flight Services.

SELEX Sistemi Integrati is a leading industry supplier of air traffic management and airport systems. They are a member of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and one of the major contributors to the SESAR development phase.

The SESAR program is the operational and technological answer to Europe’s air traffic management challenges. Embedded in the European Unions’ (EU) ambitious Single European Sky initiative, the aim of SESAR is to ensure the modernization of the European air traffic management system by coordinating and concentrating all relevant research and development efforts in the EU.

The Boeing Air Traffic Management team draws on expertise from across the enterprise including Commercial Airplanes, Commercial Aviation Services’ Flight Services division, including subsidiary Jeppesen as well as Boeing Research and Technology and Boeing Defense, Space & Security.


SESAR Interview – A Roger-Wilco Exclusive

On 23/02/2012, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

For the second year now, as part of the preparations for ATC Global in Amsterdam, Roger-Wilco editor Steve Zerkowitz has been granted an exclusive interview with an officer of SESAR. This time he talked with the JU’s Michael Standar, Chief Strategies and International Relations about the achievements and challenges of the SESAR Program.

Last year everyone was waiting for the details of Release 1. How far have the aims been achieved? Are there any problems? What is the impact on SESAR as a whole?

When the first list of potential Release 1 validation exercises was developed, it was fairly long.… Together with the members, we scrutinized each project as to its true potential of being ready for industrialization. These iterations resulted in a final approved Release 1 set of exercises with content deemed ready for real world validation. Even though this being a bottom-up process I believe through this process we did reach the aims set out for Release 1.

Of course one must also remember that Release 1, important as it is, primarily focusing on mature areas to prove industrialization readiness and not the whole Program; as such Release 1 was certainly a success within its limits.

In this context the “story” of IP1 is worth being mentioned. There too a number of the original IP1 OIs needed more SESAR R&D. Some people might say that a lot of the IP1 content included solutions that had been developed earlier. This is correct, but they nevertheless lacked a true validation in a real life environment with the necessary analysis and with the relevant stakeholder involvement. Another thing we had to realize was the need to approach the new features on an iterative basis. This is the best way to progress towards maturity. Take Initial 4D for instance. We will have three iterations starting in 2011 and then continuing in 2012 and 2013. These fit well with the target dates of the Master Plan also.

Another element of the Program that is an important candidate for iterative development is the remote tower concept. An excellent idea and something that is eminently feasible but in order to have a deployable product, we will have to go through a number of iterations to reach full maturity.

We have also seen that there is no such thing as “one size fits all”. The iterations do allow us to define the best fits for different environments while staying fully within the original spiral of development. This is a very cost effective approach to the development of the elements of a complex system like ATM.

In the meantime, Release 2 is on the table. What is the chief content? How is Release 2 progressing?

Click here to read the full article


Fact sheets on SWIM

On 21/12/2011, in SWIM, by steve

One of the ways SESAR communicates with the world is the so-called fact-sheets. These are compact descriptions of certain aspects of the work-packages and as such provide a fairly useful source of quick reference.

System Wide Information Management (SWIM) has its own set of fact-sheets, well worth a look.

Check them out here.


BluSky Services and Holland Aviation Consultancy & Engineering (HACE) team up to develop advanced e-training courses

On 13/06/2011, in Training world, by steve

The importance of training in aviation cannot be over emphasized. This has been amply demonstrated by recent events, including the Air France A330 crash and the A380 taxi incident, in both of which pilot training issues have been identified as important contributory factors.

But the need for quality training extends way beyond pilots and air traffic controllers. People working on all levels and in all aviation disciplines must be able to supplement their basic training and skills with new knowledge constantly being generated in this fast moving industry.

Training is an expensive affair. The courses themselves tend to have a steep price and having people travel to the course location incurs additional expenses. Temporary absence from the workplace must also be accounted for. With company budgets under stress everywhere, managers are often forced to axe all but essential training. Of course the line between essential and nice to have is not always easy to identify and missing out on important new knowledge happens before we know it.

However, modern technology is here to help. Enter the Advanced E-training Courses being offered in air traffic management by the HACE/BluSky Services partnership. These two companies bring together several years’ worth of expertise in air traffic management and e-learning to offer a wide range of courses at a very reasonable price.

Whether you are an individual wishing to expand your horizons or a company with a need to bring its personnel up to speed on certain subjects, e-learning provides a cost-effective and convenient way to acquire the knowledge you seek. In all cases, the total cost is a fraction of what an equivalent classroom course would require in terms of time and money.

Click here to read the full article


SWIM – One size does not fit all?

On 24/03/2011, in SWIM, by steve

Whatever the context, this is a very true statement. And I hate it from the bottom of my heart.


Because in the area closest to my heart, air traffic management, it has been used over the years as the (rather lame) excuse for not harmonizing things, be it implementation dates, system functionality or the working position user interface. The results were inevitably increased costs, missed project deadlines, unachieved goals or goals achieved that were different from what the ATM community needed.

When the concept of a Single European Sky first surfaced, even its name was refreshing as it suggested a departure from the old buzzword and a bright new future where things would finally work to the same gauge everywhere. What a naïve thought…

At the ATM Global conference in Amsterdam recently, the top guy of DSNA, the French air navigation service provider, talking about the Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB), informed his audience that no single FAB would fit all and that FABs were bringing European diversity to SESAR.

It was rather disappointing to hear him use this well worn excuse for Europe’s inability once again to set up a truly single sky! One would have hoped for a more modern (digital?) excuse but that was probably expecting too much…

I got another jolt last night when the SWIM thread on LinkedIn directed my attention to new information on SWIM posted on the SESAR web site. There I found another echo of this hated claim.

Click here to read the full article



On 07/03/2011, in SWIM, by steve

The importance of System Wide Information Management for the future ATM system is undisputed now and luckily it seems that the voices wanting to eliminate the venerable abbreviation SWIM have also lost power.

Within the SESAR Program, 2 work-packages are entrusted with the development of SWIM, WP8 (“Information Management”) and WP14 (SWIM Technical Architecture”), with involvement from EUROCONTROL in both. SWIM is one of the core technical developments in the SESAR Program. It enables data sharing between ATM services across the whole European ATM system. The goal is to improve collaborative decision making and common situational awareness through the provision of quality information to the right people at the right time.

It is foreseen that SWIM will put in place several elements facilitating this improved exchange of information. The first of which -the ATM Information Reference Model (AIRM)- is to be released soon. The dedicated SWIM web pages will provide more details on this and future developments. Furthermore the SWIM LinkedIn Subgroup provides a discussion-forum for all stakeholders who wish to get involved and share their ideas.

Of course this does not mean that SWIM development and implementation will now be smooth sailing. For one, there are still different interpretations of the concept and its scope and some experts even worry that the available network technologies will not be up to the requirements that will be imposed by full scale SWIM implementation. Sadly it is rather quiet on the SWIM Linkedin Subgroup but this does not mean that there is that little to discuss. If nothing else, just read Roger-Wilco’s many articles about SWIM and I am sure you will have plenty to talk about.


ss_blog_claim=49366b4e35f7fed9be0af15ba66ac54c ss_blog_claim=49366b4e35f7fed9be0af15ba66ac54c