Summary of KDC results 2012

KDC worked on a large number of projects in 2012. Some of these projects were initiated in 2012, while others were started in preceding years. In contrast to 2011, several projects were completed and yielded results in 2012. 

The figure below shows in which fields results were achieved in 2012. The results are then explained for each section.

1.       Improved delivery of traffic to the TMA

In 2012 KDC conducted a real-time simulation for the development of the Speed & Route Advisor in conjunction with Maastricht UAC. This real-time simulation was also conducted on behalf of SESAR and reported under SESAR Release 2. KDC also supported the development of the Arrival Manager by providing expertise and prototyping activities. 

The development of the revised Arrival Manager, combined with the Speed & Route Advisor for ACC, is a large-scale multi-year project that is an enabler for the new TMA concept (with four Initial Approach Fixes, fixed approach routes and CDAs). KDC is expected to continue working on developing the improved delivery of traffic to the TMA over the next few years and implementation will be gradual from 2014.

2.       Airspace design 4th IAF + connection to FABEC

KDC conducted simulations in support of airspace design activities in 2012. These were simulations of different designs for a revised Schiphol TMA with four instead of three Initial Approach Fixes (IAFs; the points of entry into the TMA and also the location of the holding areas). 

These simulations led to the selection of a design that will serve as input for airspace design activities in relation to Functional Airspace Blocks Europe Central, or FABEC (CBA Land/Central West Project).

3.       Safety in convergent runway use

In the wake of an incident during convergent runway use, a study was held into whether air traffic controllers can be supported with a system, based on radar detection, which issues a warning when aircraft initiate a go-around or missed-approach procedure. A KDC study demonstrated that this type of system is technically feasible. The results of the KDC study are being used to prepare an implementation project, which will also be supported by KDC.

4.       Airport development strategy

With the support of To70, in 2012 KDC studied a number of expansion variants for Schiphol’s infrastructure (2025 Masterplan). The expansion variants related to expansion of the terminal buildings on the south-west side of Schiphol (alongside Kaagbaan), extra gates, buffer stands and expansion of the taxiway system. 

The potential (ground handling) capacity of the expansion variants was studied. The results of the study will serve as input for policy consultations between the sector partners KLM, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AAS) and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL).

5.       New TMA concept + Noise reduction strategy

In 2012 KDC initiated a project in conjunction with MITRE to define step-by-step implementation of Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs) from a low altitude. Part of developing this strategy for the TMA is the step-by-step implementation of fixed approach routes and the development of tools which aid air traffic controllers in merging traffic flows in the TMA. 

MITRE contributed navigation knowhow essential to developing a safe concept for parallel CDAs. Parallel CDAs are not yet implemented anywhere in the world and the Dutch aviation sector is therefore taking a pioneering role with this development.

The strategy for the step-by-step development of fixed approach routes and CDAs from a low altitude will be delivered in the spring of 2013.

6.       Improved training for air traffic controllers

2012 was the fourth year of the PhD research conducted by Ludo van Meeuwen from the Open University of the Netherlands. Ludo’s research is part of the “Human Factors in Future ATM” programme and focuses on improving training for air traffic controllers. The research focuses on adjusting the sequence of learning tasks according to the students’ personal needs. The output of the training course is consequently expected to improve.

The results of the research will be published in September 2013.

7.       Research into the role of air traffic controllers in the SESAR concept

2012 was the third year of the PhD research conducted by Alicia Walkowiak from Maastricht University. Alicia’s research is part of the “Human Factors in Future ATM” programme and focuses on the changing role of air traffic controllers in future ATM systems. Based on the description of the SESAR concept, ATM is expected to focus more on the pre-tactical planning of traffic in the future rather than on the tactical control of traffic. Yet tactical skills will still need to be retained. The research focuses on the future scenario in which air traffic controllers chiefly conduct monitoring tasks, but in the event of unexpected situations will still need to be able to switch to ‘manual’ air traffic control.  

The research results are expected to be published in the first quarter of 2014.

8.       Safety/efficiency of ACC control

In July 2012 the Mode-S Enhanced Surveillance project was implemented with support from KDC. This project provides ACC controllers with data from the cockpit via the Mode-S data link. Implementation of these Downlink Airborne Parameters (DAPs) encompasses Pilot Selected Flight Level, Magnetic Heading and Indicated Airspeed. The implementation of Selected Flight Level contributes greatly to improving safety. This system notifies air traffic controllers at an early stage of any incorrect flight levels set in the cockpit. The downlink for magnetic heading and indicated airspeed contributes to the efficiency of flight handling and reduces radio use.

The KDC contribution to DAP implementation comprised designing and evaluating the presentation of data on radar screens. The DAP evaluation was conducted at the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR).

9.       “Fixed approach routes with high capacity” concept

In 2012, KDC continued its research into Aircraft Surveillance Applications Systems Interval Management (ASAS IM). The results of the so-called batch study were delivered in 2012. This study used fast-time simulations to look at the potential capacity when ASAS is used in handling traffic on fixed approach routes in the TMA. The results of the batch study indicate that the capacity targets can be achieved using ASAS. The project team advised continuing development in 2013 with a real-time simulation aimed at better evaluating the role of air traffic controllers. 

The KDC ASAS team comprises KLM, NLR, LVNL, Boeing and TU Delft. NASA and Rockwell-Collins have asked to join the KDC ASAS team in 2013. KDC therefore has a leading international team for ASAS development. This leading role is underlined by requests from SESAR and RTCA for support on expertise for development and standardisation.

10.   Improved weather forecasting

The interim evaluation was held of the Knowledge for Climate (KvK) Research Programme on 4 October 2012. At the initiative of KDC the topics of “Improving Schiphol wind forecasts” and “Improving Schiphol visibility forecasts” were included in the KvK Programme under “Hotspot Schiphol”. The research programme lasts four years. During the interim evaluation it was established that the programme was on track.

The main outcome of the KvK programme for KDC is the delivery of a new weather model called HARMONIE. This model will enable the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) to provide improved wind and visibility forecasts. HARMONIE is scheduled to be taken into use at the KNMI in 2015.