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New remote piloting function in ESCAPE, the EUROCONTROL Innovation Hub ATC simulator, adds greater flexibility for stakeholders

EUROCONTROL Innovation Hub simulation operators

Simulator pilots can now navigate aircraft remotely in our ESCAPE ATC simulation platform, offering stakeholders more flexibility when organising validation exercises.

Normally, real-time simulations require the physical presence of simulator pilot operators (so-called pseudo pilots) who navigate simulated aircraft for all flight phases, transcribing orders into the simulation system via a dedicated pilot working position interface, in response to the ATC instructions given by the controllers for a given aircraft.

The new functionality, which was operationally used for the first time in an ATC training simulation on 5 October at the EUROCONTROL Innovation Hub in Brétigny, France, brings more flexibility when setting up simulation exercises. Stakeholders can have a backup for pilots present on site, and may run smaller simulations with up to six remote pilots without them needing to travel to participate – a useful alternative in the context of the pandemic, but also in terms of cost. In the future, we plan to enable those stakeholders that are using a local version of our ESCAPE simulator to be able to take advantage of the new functionality.

The solution has been implemented in cooperation with our partner FTEJerez, ensuring optimal connectivity between the pilot workstations at their premises in Spain, and the simulation platform at EUROCONTROL’s Innovation Hub.

EUROCONTROL provided the hardware, software and technical support for the installation of the pseudo pilot workstations at FTEJerez, with security aspects being a crucial part of the process, as well as training for pseudo pilots on using the ESCAPE Pilot Working Position interface.

Depending on needs, EUROCONTROL also envisages expanding the number of pilot positions, and enabling other organisations to connect to our simulator and provide remote piloting services

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