Budapest 2.0 demonstrates live traffic benefits

Work room of Remote TowerBudapest 2.0 has demonstrated the benefits of three technological innovations co-financed by SESAR, the organisation charting the direction of air traffic management technology for Europe.

The programme has demonstrated the capabilities of solutions supporting continuous descent, the benefits of satellite-based arrival procedures, and the applicability of remote tower control around Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.

These demonstrations were evaluated during a professional workshop held in the middle of November at HungaroControl’s headquarters. The total budget of the project is nearly €2.5 million, 50 per cent of which has been funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking.

The six-member international consortium, which has performed the demonstration, started to work together on the initiative led by both HungaroControl and Pildo Labs from Spain. The consortium included Wizz Air, JetStream, SLOT Consulting, and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia as its key members; LPS (the air navigation service provider of Slovakia) and Vueling as supporting members, and Budapest airport as an observer.

They tested innovations prioritised by SESAR and essential for efficient operations in the future. The consortium specifically aimed to introduce technological innovations and procedures that enhance the operational environment of small and medium-sized airports, and improve flight safety, cost-efficiency and environmental impact for both airlines and air navigation service providers.

The first pillar of the project was to develop arrival procedures to support continuous descent operations. HungaroControl took part in the complex process of creating descent profiles in two stages. One aspect involved the modification of arrival procedures of Budapest Terminal Manoeuvring Area; another aspect was to use a supporting software with the main purpose of helping air traffic controllers to determine the sequence of arriving aircraft.

While using the software, the controller has a simple visual image of the actual order of arriving aircraft, the distances between them, and their deviation from the ideal descent profile. The procedures introduced in the framework of the project will be used for all flights arriving at Budapest airport from 26 May.

The second pillar of the project was to test a satellite-based arrival procedure, which provides pilots with navigation support to fly the exact glide path without the need of ground installations. Validation flights, in co-operation with Pildo Labs, were performed and evaluated using PLATERO, the Spanish company’s own tool.

After validation, these procedures became available for flights arriving at Budapest, although they do require the appropriate navigation equipment on the aircraft. It has also been concluded that these procedures can temporarily replace ground-based ILS at large airports (e.g. during maintenance), or provide an alternative solution at smaller airports.

The third pillar of the project was to demonstrate the usage of the Remote Tower with live traffic. HungaroControl started to explore the possibilities of remote tower control several years ago. In the framework of this project, a remote tower environment was created for demonstration purposes at HungaroControl’s headquarters.

A video wall is used to display aerodrome visuals necessary for air traffic controllers to perform their tasks, providing a view substantially different from the view from the control tower. The demonstration proved that this kind of technology is suitable for both contingency purposes and live control, and also provided important findings regarding further development.

The results of this two-year programme will soon be available for the stakeholders of the ATM industry, providing them with a solid basis for the implementation of these solutions adapted to local requirements.

Drawing of satelite approach procedures

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