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Innovation in validation

Innovation in validation

New platform will permit seamless validation across ATC and ATFCM.

EUROCONTROL’s Experimental Centre has successfully completed the first integration tests of a unique and innovative validation platform capable of performing seamless assessments of new concepts across both air traffic flow & capacity management (ATFCM) and air traffic control (ATC) domains.

The new platform will integrate the Centre’s INNOVE ATFCM and ESCAPE ATC real-time simulators to create a validation platform that will enable joint ATFCM and ATC simulation exercises, drawing on a coherent traffic and airspace picture. This will permit innovative concepts that cross the full ATM lifecycle to be validated by the relevant actors.

This is an important step given the increasing interdependencies between aviation domains and the key actors in them, from air traffic controllers to area control centre supervisors, airspace designers, flow managers, civil-military experts, airport operation centres, airline flight operation centres and pilots.

“With the integration of our two validation platforms, EUROCONTROL’s Experimental Centre continues to support faster implementation of digital solutions in aviation. This new unique capability will allow us to assist our stakeholders in validating the most innovative concepts that contribute to aviation sustainability, and bring significant improvements to air traffic management. The first client project of the integrated platform will be the validation of Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) and Dynamic Mobile Area (DMA) concepts in the framework of SESAR 2020 Wave 2.”

Laurent Renou Head Innovation Division, EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre Brétigny

The old way of validating new ATM concepts separately in the ATFCM and the ATC domains using dedicated validation platforms – an approach based on the traditional timeline of ATFCM and ATC operations – is increasingly anachronistic. Recent developments and new SESAR concepts have moved ATFCM actors increasingly towards the execution time domain (e.g. via STAM – Short Term ATFCM Measures and DAC – Dynamic Airspace Configurations), while ATC actors have in turn found themselves increasingly drawn towards the ATFCM time domain, working on INAP – Integrated Network Management and Extended ATC Planning and Extended Arrival Managers.

The first client project of the integrated platform will be the validation of DAC and DMA (Dynamic Mobile Area) concepts, including the validation of the impact of dynamic updates on the ATC Controller Working Positions. The solution, which is part of the SESAR programme, will also combine DAC with classical DCB (Demand Capacity Balancing) measures.

Work on the necessary modifications to both simulators started Q4 2020, resulting in the first successful integration tests in Q1 2021, which saw aircraft data successfully exchanged between both simulators as well as the successful hand-over of simulation control for flights.

The full integration work is expected to be completed by Q4 2021, with tests of various traffic handover use cases and enlarged traffic samples, and building the necessary B2B links to permit the real-time exchange of flight plans, sector configuration plans and airspace configuration data. The first exercises are scheduled for Q1 2022.

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