Results from the December 2007 Time-based Separations Real-time Simulation Exercises

The EUROCONTROL Time-Based Separation (TBS) project is investigating the feasibility, with respect to safety and controller workload, of a new concept of applying separation minima between successive arrivals on final approach. In this concept, the existing distance-based radar separation minima would be translated into equivalent minimum time intervals derived from nominal aircraft ground speeds operating on final approach in zero wind conditions.This particular report presents the detailed results from a real-time simulation that took place at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre (EEC) during 2 weeks in December, 2007. For this simulation, target trailing positions (TTPs), which display in real-time the distance separation that allows the required TBS to be achieved, were available to assist the controllers in spacing the aircraft.The main objectives were to evaluate the impact both of the headwind strength and of the heavy aircraft types compared to other ones as well as to assess the effect of unexpected windshear on the working practices, including spacing practices, and on the level of acceptability of the controllers when using TBS.The results demonstrated benefits for the TBS concept and a great acceptability of theTTP as a support tool to the controller during the experiments. These experiments have also shown the need to further analyse the spacing practices, in particular to compare the current situation, without any support tool to space the aircraft, with the use of TBS with a TTP. A list of improvements and needs for further development, in particular the need to ensure the accuracy of the sequence of aircraft, has also been established. Subsequent experiments will also have to evaluate the acceptance of TBS under real wind conditions

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Results from the December 2007 Time-based Separations Real-time Simulation Exercises