Airbus targets FANS-C certification by year-end

European airframer Airbus is to demonstrate new FANS-C navigation capability for Airbus-led SESAR project.

An Airbus-led project to demonstrate the sharing of an aircraft’s predicted trajectory data with air traffic control will begin its operational phase involving revenue flights on 100 A320 Family aircraft later this year.

The aircraft will be progressively equipped with the new Airbus FANS-C avionics product by the end of 2019.

FANS-C combines new datalink and telecommunications capabilities which allow for the transmission of the complete predicted four-dimensional aircraft trajectory (3D + time).

The project, called DIGITS or Demonstration of air traffic management Improvements Generated by Initial Trajectory Sharing is part of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) initiative.

The project will build on the results of flight trials that took place in 2012 and 2014, and will aim to show how sharing trajectory information between the air and ground can enable a safer and more efficient handling and certainty of flight profiles. It will aim to show benefits in terms of minimising discrepancies in trajectory and improving controller support tools, such as conflict detection (e.g. medium-term conflict detection/MTCD).

On the airborne side, the aircraft can better manage their speed profile, which leads to fuel savings and an environmentally-optimised flight profile. The sharing of trajectory also means that aircraft sequences can be better managed and delivered into terminal manoeuvring areas (TMAs) with greater efficiency.

The project brings together a whole host of SESAR members, including air navigation service providers (Austro Control, Croatia Control, LFV and the Irish Aviation Authority, Naviair – representing COOPANS, DFS, DSNA, Enav, NATS), manufacturers (Airbus, Honeywell, Indra, Leonardo, Thales and SAAB, SINTEF and Airtel representing NATMIG) and Eurocontrol. With the cooperation of seven European airlines (Air France, British Airways, easyJet, Iberia, Novair, Thomas Cook and Wizz Air), the large-scale demonstration will last more than a year and collect data from over 20,000 flights.

The overall goal is to optimise the aircraft’s trajectory and make traffic flows more fluid. Airbus is targeting FANS-C certification later this year.

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