Surface Operations: What new capabilities are being developed to support performance objectives in the surface domain?

Brian DavisBrian Davis, Honeywell Aerospace: Without an expansion of airport infrastructure, the rising volume of ground traffic experienced by many airports around the world can only be accomplished by optimized control procedures which guarantee the disentanglement and more even distribution of traffic. Our A-SMGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance & Control System) Level 5 does just that, by providing controllers and pilots with an advanced ground environment management interface that reduces taxi times and enables conflict-free, continuous taxiing without unnecessary breaks to lower taxi time and reduce fuel burn.

An advanced taxiway information system provides pilots with safe orientation, even in cases of reduced visibility, but can help them in all conditions, particularly at large airports where it can be difficult to recognise the allocated taxiway route quickly and safely by an intuitive method of automated lights and software algorithms.

In addition to our A-SMGCS capability, Honeywell is also enabling the use of Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) in the cockpit, electronic datalink delivery of flight plan and departure clearances, dedicated aviation broadband links, display vision system enhancements and expanding the use of ADS-B for improved surface navigation and safety. In addition, Cockpit-based Interval Management will help optimise the flow of aircraft and allow for increased arrival rates.

SayedianEd Sayadian, ITT Exelis: ITT Exelis has developed an airport surface viewer and Collaborative Decision making (CDM) platform called Symphony OpsVue. This product provides an integrated CDM platform to improve the business performance of airports, airlines, and aviation stakeholders by providing accurate, shared situational awareness among all users.

Providing flexible data visualisation options, the system incorporates the most comprehensive aircraft surveillance data available, including data from the FAA’s NextGen surveillance system, which Exelis is installing, operating and maintaining nationwide. Symphony OpsVue monitors performance and irregular operations; manages arrivals, departures, pushback and de-icing times; and complies with passenger bill of rights requirements.

Further automatic alerting to select airlines, airports, and concerned stakeholders of current tarmac delays and aircraft diversions, allows for safer and more efficient operations system wide.

Sandy Samuel, Lockheed Martin: Lockheed Martin will be providing an integrated departure and arrival capability with the Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) programme. This is an important step in optimising the traffic flow around the airport as well as improving the efficiency of the surface environment.  The next step is to integrate surface operations into the overall scheduling.  The FAA has allocated this function to the upcoming Tower Flight Data Management programme.

Alan BloodgoodAlan Bloodgood, Metron Aviation: Metron Aviation is supporting the FAA Surface Operations Office as it seeks to validate the Surface CDM Concept of Operations (ConOps) originally developed by the Surface CDM Team, and transitioned to the FAA in September 2010.

The overarching goal of the Surface CDM concept is to improve the predictability of airport surface operations by continuously monitoring demand and capacity and notifying stakeholders when an imbalance between demand and capacity is predicted.

The continuous monitoring of the airport surface operation is founded on the exchange of real-time, accurate operational data among all stakeholders and compliance with Surface CDM procedures and policies.

Importantly, the operational data includes known NAS Traffic Flow Management (TFM) initiatives to ensure that the Surface CDM plan considers airspace constraints as well as local airport constraints such as runways or de-icing pads. Metron Aviation has been assisting the FAA with the execution of an iterative, structured Concept Engineering process that enables the FAA to mature its Surface CDM.

Ken Kaminski, Saab Sensis: Within surface operations, Saab Sensis has deployed a comprehensive Ground Management Programme (GMP) at JFK International Airport to address surface efficiencies through the use of a common surface management platform and a set of decision support tools.

In addition, a unique Departure Metering programme at JFK uses a ration-by-schedule approach and departure sequencing algorithms to reduce taxi times and ensure an optimised use of available departure slots. Both the GMP and Departure Metering programmes use our Aerobahn airport surface management platform as the base system.

With its presence at multiple other US airports, Aerobahn can enable these ground efficiency solutions to be carried out at multiple locations. Saab Sensis is also the prime contractor for Airservices Australia’s National Tower Programme (NTP) where the ANSP is modernising the technology at a number of air traffic control towers with a fully harmonised set of controller displays and tools.

Bobby SturgellBobby Sturgell, Rockwell Collins: We’ve made some exciting advances in improving the safety of surface operations with increased integration of sensors with the cockpit. A great example is our Surface Management System, part of our Pro Line Fusion system, which provides automated checks and aural advisories to the flight crew, and adds a visual overlay that highlights the target runway on the airport chart display.  We’re also researching other uses for technologies such as synthetic vision and weather radar for surface operations.

Fred Messina, Booz Allen Hamilton: One critical surface operational improvement, on which Booz Allen is working with the FAA to address, is in the area of integrated clearance delivery. Integrating the surface operations is becoming more important with the advance of more complex traffic management systems and applications. Booz Allen is also helping FAA to address the safety dimensions of surface movement through support of FAA’s Runway Safety Initiatives and the Air Traffic Organization’s Risk Analysis Process.

This process includes a proactive review of safety incidents where losses of separation are analysed in detail for causal and contributing factors, as well as safety trend analysis, so that proper hazard mitigation can be achieved through system safety principles.  Specifically, Booz Allen is helping the FAA harmonise the safety taxonomies and processes across all of the ATO’s safety panels, to ensure a common language for hazard reporting is achieved. In addition, Booz Allen is assisting with requirements development of a new Runway Safety Tool to assist in safety reporting by gathering and analysing data from a myriad of disparate sources.

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