Milan Malpensa Airport was the location for the successful validation of a SESAR developed Airport Safety Net concept. Taking place between 25 and 29 November, the exercise focused on the early detection of conflicting vehicles trajectories on the airport surface and on runways, and the provision of related alerts to the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).
The exercise is part of SESAR Release 3, and was conducted by SESAR Member, ENAV, with the support of its validation Partners – Selex ES, SICTA, Techno Sky – and saw the participation of five controllers, three pseudo pilots and an integrated team of validation experts made up of engineers and ATM specialists. Claude Chêne, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU), accompanied by the SJU Chief Development & Delivery, Benoit Fonck, also joined the ENAV validation team for the exercise.
Using a sophisticated pre-industrial validation platform at Malpensa Tower backup operational room, the exercise consisted of two techniques: First, a real-time simulation analysed innovative alarms for controllers, such as non-compliance to ATC clearances and instructions; conflicting ATC clearances; surface conflict prediction and detection; and runway incursion detection and area intrusion. Three Controller Working Positions (CWP) were used during the simulation dealing with delivery, ground and tower control functions. These positions were fed with traffic handled by three pseudo pilot positions. The exercise aimed at assessing the operational benefits of these concepts in terms of Safety and Human Performance (acceptability, usability and controller workload). The validation demonstrated the added value of having a customised platform for displaying conflict identification and alerting messages on the CWP.
Meanwhile, the second technique, a shadow mode trial investigated the accuracy/reliability of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) through an advanced comparative algorithm, with the aim of enhancing ground system for airport surveillance.
Overall, the validation exercise identified significant improvements leading to higher safety levels for the airport. Although further fine tuning is needed, SESAR and its Members have once again proven that through collaboration, real changes in the ATM domain are achievable!
Author: Remy Bossert