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ATC system

Old 2nd Jan 2013, 13:52
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ATC system

The ANSP I work for (DSNA) is launching a project aiming at modernizing ATC systems in its approach centres and control towers. This will most likely mean for us air traffic controllers giving up paper strips.

If your ATC centre has already made this move, I'd like to know what system you use. Don't forget to specify where you work, what type of control (area, terminal / approach, tower, ground) you do, how long this system has been implemented and if it's a stripless or electronic strip system.


Note that I don't want to restart a debate about the pros and cons of giving up paper strips. I'm just trying to get a picture of who has what across Europe. Non european air traffic controllers are welcome to join in!
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 06:36
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Australia has commenced upgrading towers. The system is SAAB/Sensis and NavCanada. It is based on NavCanada software which has been substantially upgraded from number of subsystems into a fully integrated one. Broome, a procedural tower, was the first commissioned and is about as far as you can get from anywhere in Australia. Rockhampton was second and has radar for information only.

Adelaide and Melbourne will commission this year. Both have an associated Radar Terninal Control Unit. Melbourne also has a Surface Movement Guidance System integrated with it.

Each workstation has four touch screens with each station capable of operating any of the tower roles so controllers will be able to move to suit the runway mode.

The touch screens display the following:
TDM - Tower Data Management (electronic strips)
ODM - Operational Data Management (Lighting control, weather data, navaid monitoring, etc)
ESS - Electronic Surveillance System
Fourth screen in Brome, Rockhampton and Adelaide provides a bit of spare space to spread windows on but in Melbourne is used for the surface guidance.

All data entry is made through touch fields on the strips or pop up menus.
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 08:10
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What back up is there when the system freezes? Stop all movements? This would seem foolhardy if all the alternate aerodromes also have the same system.
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 08:29
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The system can't freeze as such. There is duplication and built in redundancy. If a workstation fails, move to another, there are seven in Melbourne tower but only four operational positions, plus a shift manager. If the Electronic Surveillance fails, there is a standby display with limited data and functionality. If subsystems fail there are degraded modes. If the strip display fails, plans are cached and there is a paper strip printer available.
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 17:07
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The system can't freeze
Thus quoth management when our Navcanada system was installed. I believe it has a failure rate of about once a year. So far no one has died as a result...

Last edited by Dan Dare; 3rd Jan 2013 at 21:48.
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 18:38
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As I interpreted the freeze question, "freeze" means completely locked and no interaction available.

Dan, from what I know of the UK, European and Canadian systems there is no full integration between strip, radar and airport data displays. Do your individual screens "talk" to each other?
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 22:10
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"Freeze" is probably too simplistically phrased, but I stand by my experience of an annual failure rate of the total unit system, not just one screen. After the first failure (which "will never happen") management in their wisdom decreed that we stop all movements and close the airport until it works again. We quickly found some disgarded strip holders and got a new strip printing system. Now we have to stop all movements until the back-up system is up and running. If I recall correctly the back-up system also failed last time. What management can't or won't understand is that it is dangerous to remove a busy airport with minimally fuelled aircraft holding to land and limited alternates in the area - it may look good to their safety accountabilities, but it puts all of the other ATCOs, pilots and passengers at risk.

In answer to the question we still have radar and limited flight plans available, but failure of the electric strips requires that all movements are stopped. I stand to be corrected, but believe here are two servers on the unit which run our strips and failure of both leads to all screens failing. We have been told that each unit runs independently, but I could swear that at least one of our failures coincided with failures at our neighbouring units and that it was only its brevity that stopped the nightmare of all DEST and ALTN being closed at the same time. It does seem credible that the same system at different units running with the same corrupt data could fail at the same time.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 10:22
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Legrandprince, I suggest you go visit Eurocontrol's Maastricht UAC which is possibly the world's most advanced UAC. They did away with paper strips not long after the Wright brothers flew
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 10:06
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Smile

Then visit TC Swanwick where it's just too busy to have electronic strips.
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 18:45
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........I seem to remember being in YSSY Area when, in spite of all the management reassurances about uninterruptible power supplies, standby generators being on line within 15 seconds etc., etc., the screens all went blank - for some minutes in a busy TMA. It can and does happen.

I don't remember but I think that was the TAATS system at around the time of its introduction.
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 21:02
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Glasgow International (EGPF) has NavCanada's electronic strip system in both VCR and Approach. Since you don't want a debate about pros and cons I shall confine myself to saying that paper strips never needed an upgrade!
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 21:25
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Glasgow International (EGPF) has NavCanada's electronic strip system in both VCR and Approach.
As do Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City towers.

EFPS | Electronic Strips | NAVCANatm | NAV Canada
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Old 7th Jan 2013, 00:43
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We use a Frequentis software on Waco tablets for electronic flight strips, at the three main trunk airport towers in NZ.

I wouldn't recommend the system to anyone. That said, there are some elements of functionality that are rather useful. I just wish that it was a more user-friendly and reliable platform.

When we recently had to move to the contingency tower for a weekend, it wasn't too much trouble re-adapting to paper strips. The failure rate was rather low.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 11:22
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Originally Posted by Fuji
[/QUOTE=Fuji]
Adelaide and Melbourne will commission this year. Both have an associated Radar Terninal Control Unit.
Will the same systems (Saab Sensis + NavaCanada) be implemented at the Terminal Control Unit?
Could you please detail who does what between Saab Sensis and NavCanada?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 11:37
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[/QUOTE=Bring back Tridents]Glasgow International (EGPF) has NavCanada's electronic strip system in both VCR and Approach.
What does VCR stand for?

[/QUOTE=Bring back Tridents]Since you don't want a debate about pros and cons I shall confine myself to saying that paper strips never needed an upgrade!
I may (re)open a thread about this later on. For the time being I'm just trying to know who has what.
Do you know where Prestwick stands in its process to implement EFD?

Cheers!
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 15:06
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Originally Posted by fujii View Post
Dan, from what I know of the UK, European and Canadian systems there is no full integration between strip, radar and airport data displays.
In Dubai we're about to connect NavCanada EFPS to the 'new' radar system (for us) AT3 by Raytheon. The systems do talk to each other i.e. ground moves a strip to the push/taxi bay and it produces a paper strip in Approach (full electronic strips later this year). A - Collaborative Decision Making with the airport system talking to ATC and vice versa is next on our agenda. They talk now but in a very limited way.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 15:40
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What does VCR stand for?

Visual Control Room, or Aerodrome Control...
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 16:08
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Smile

Prestwick has EFD up and running, don't know if they like it.

Swanwick has been operating in ifacts for over a year now. I personally like it, don't get me wrong, I know it has its issues but I wouldn't go back to paper. It suits the way I control.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 16:36
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Thumbs down

Will the same systems (Saab Sensis + NavaCanada) be implemented at the Terminal Control Unit?
Don't know yet, planning is in the early days.


Could you please detail who does what between Saab Sensis and NavCanada?
SS prime contractor, NC software.
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Old 11th Jan 2013, 11:11
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[quote=Legrandprince]
Originally Posted by 1985
Prestwick has EFD up and running
I understand EFD is a product made by Frequentis. What does EFD include? I know it includes the electronic strip panel HMI but does it include the Air Situation Display HMI and the Data display HMI? If not which suppliers have provided Prestwick with those systems?
Cheers!
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