Summary of KDC results 2014

KDC worked on eleven projects in 2014. Three of these projects were completed in 2014 and the delivery of one project was slightly delayed until the first quarter of 2015. The others are multi-year projects which will continue in 2015. 

The figure below shows in which fields results were achieved in 2014. The results are then explained for each section. 

 1.       Improved delivery of traffic to the TMA 

The development of the arrival management function is a multi-year KDC activity. In addition to simulations and trials, KDC supports this development by hiring in expertise for the construction and specification of prototype software. The development of the arrival management function will serve a new handling concept for the Schiphol approach area (TMA) based on fixed approach routes and Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs). Implementation of this new handling concept requires traffic to be delivered to the TMA more uniformly. At the moment traffic may not deviate from the planned time for TMA entry by more than 60 seconds in order to be able to use fixed approach routes (with limited capacity) in the TMA. 

The first step supported by AMAN is the new TMA design containing four TMA entries (4 IAFs, or Initial Approach Fixes). In order to be able to take the design containing 4 IAFs into use, delivery precision of 120 seconds is required. The first version of the new AMAN (called ASAP: Advanced Schiphol Arrival Planner) supports this delivery precision. 

In 2014 the support activities of 2013 were continued as part of the arrival management development: 

  1. Development and evaluation of a prototype ASAP
  2. Development and specification of the interface between ASAP and the AAA system
  3. Evaluation of the ASAP user interface 

These activities are for the benefit of the initial implementation step in Q4/2015 (NB: this schedule deviates from the previous LVNL implementation schedule by six months due to unexpected essential system adjustments). Please also see the sub-strategy for the arrival management function below.

In 2014, Maarten Tielrooij, in his capacity as a PhD student at TU Delft, conducted support tasks on arrival management. These involved two fields of research: 

  1. Research into the further expansion of the planning horizon and dealing with uncertainties about arrival times as the remaining flight time increases.
  2. Practical support for the ASAP prototype evaluation and any research questions deriving from this. 

2.       Traffic Merging in the TMA

One development which could help to reduce noise pollution further for those living near Schiphol Airport is conducting Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) along fixed approach routes. With a view to introducing these fixed approach routes to the busy day-to-day operations at Schiphol, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) and the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) conducted a study under the flag of the Knowledge & Development Centre (KDC) into support for air traffic controllers in the conflict-free and efficient merging of two or more traffic flows on a fixed approach route into a single flow. 

In April 2014 this resulted in identification of the most likely solution directions. Given the operational requirements and all the other known preconditions, a solution was selected based on spacing using a ghosting concept, e.g. the NLR’s Converging Runway and Approach Display Aid (CORADA). 

The result and recommendations of the preliminary study will be worked out further in the next phase of the study and will lead to a definitive choice of concept in 2015. 

3.       “Fixed approach routes with high capacity” concept 

In 2014, the KDC continued its research into Aircraft Surveillance Applications Systems Interval Management (ASAS IM) by conducting a real-time simulation. The aim of this simulation was to develop and validate the working procedures and HMI for Approach controllers and to assess acceptance by and the workload for Approach controllers. The working procedures and HMI for ASAS IM were generally given a positive assessment by the air traffic controllers, but a few points for improvement were identified.  All the air traffic controllers who participated in the real-time simulation immediately accepted and appreciated the IM operational concept.  Confidence in the new operational modus operandi was high. Using the newly-developed HMI, the controllers were easily able to guide the air traffic safely and efficiently in all the scenarios, including non-normal events. The workload as experienced by the air traffic controllers was well within the set limits. 

4.     Additional safety net for Schiphol control tower operations 

In the wake of an incident during convergent runway use, the development of an additional safety net was recommended for Schiphol control tower operations. 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. A 2012 KDC study demonstrated that this type of system is technically feasible. The study was expanded to include a study of the operational feasibility of such a system in 2012 and 2013. Based on the results of that study, in 2013 a start was made on realising a go-around detection system (GARDS). For this realisation project a specification and evaluation of the required operational system was worked on using a prototype system. KDC contributed to the specification and technical evaluation of the prototype system in 2014. The project is scheduled to be realised in May 2015. 

5.       Improving efficiency in Winter Operations 

Following implementation of the first phase of the “De-Icing Planner” project in 2013, in which a model was developed which could make an accurate five-day forecast of de-icing conditions, in conjunction with KLM, MeteoGroup tested the developed model on a free-standing aircraft wing in the winter of 2014. Temperature sensors were placed on this wing, enabling monitoring of the wing temperature. These data were used by MeteoGroup to calibrate the developed model. To this end, MeteoGroup used comparable physical and statistical techniques which it already applies in combating icy conditions on roads and runways. This model forecasts the wing temperature and condition on an hourly basis. Throughout last winter the KLM de-icing team recorded data on the times at which de-icing was conducted. These data were used to check the model. 

A prototype of the forecasting system was made available to KLM via a website. The initial response has been positive. 

6.       Improved weather forecasting 

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

The research into support for improved wind and visibility forecasts was completed in 2014. 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. 

7.       System Wide Information Management (SWIM) 

The Pilot Common Project Implementing Regulation (PCP IR) came into effect in July 2014. This requires implementation of six functionalities relating to air traffic control in the period up to 1 January 2025. System Wide Information Management is one of the functionalities required in the PCP IR. 

The PCP IR lists a large number of systems under the SWIM functionality for which data need to be released. This longlist of data has raised the question within the sector as to which data yields the most benefits and should therefore be given priority. KDC put this question to its suppliers in the shape of a study tender. Only the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) submitted a tender and was subsequently awarded the study. 

The NLR conducted an initial inventory and reported back in the fourth quarter of 2014. The study will be completed in the first quarter of 2015. 

8.     Applications of ADS-C 

Together with the NLR and Ferway and on behalf of KDC, MovingDot conducted a study into the operational use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) data at the LVNL with the aim of handling traffic more efficiently. The first step in this study was an inventory of the existing equipment of those fleets currently operating at Schiphol. This inventory yielded a poor equipage rate with ADS-C of 16%. Only wide-body aircraft are equipped with ADS-C. The next part of the study focused on the early morning peak, during which only wide-body aircraft approach Schiphol. The study identified options for air traffic controllers to plan and use fixed approach routes better using ADS-C data. At the same time, ADS-C intent data provides the option of controlling the programmed Standard Instrument Departure (SID) for outbound traffic prior to the start. This could enable parallel 36L/36C starting in restricted visibility. 

9.     Capacity & Runway Predictions 

The objective of this study is more accurate predictions of runway use and corresponding capacity at Schiphol Airport. Flight planning for intercontinental flights starts as much as 15 to 20 hours before the landing time. An accurate prediction of the runway which is in use and expected congestion in the TMA are anchors used to determine the quantity of fuel required for the flight. To70 has created a web-based application which makes a prediction 30 hours ahead based on the forecast weather conditions and historical runway and capacity statistics. This tool is now in use at KLM Dispatch. The LVNL and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AAS) also see potential uses for this tool. 

10.   Insight into Operational Efficiency 

This study is being conducted by MovingDot and To70. Insight is created into where inefficiencies occur in operations based on the current traffic handling concept and up-to-date flight profiles. The study is aimed at creating insight into how flight operations in Dutch airspace can be improved. The final recommendations will be made in February 2015.  

11.  SESAR 4D Arrival Management 

Work was continued on VP030 in 2014. Among other things, the NLR organised a Stakeholder Workshop. The NLR also conducted many coordinating tasks within SESAR. In addition, the NLR wrote the VP030 Project Management Plan with input from various parties as commissioned by the SJU. Preparatory tasks were conducted within LVNL, in particular with respect to readying the technology and infrastructure. This includes setting up the ICAS demonstrator and realising a MUSTANG network connection with the MUAC simulator in Maastricht. 

The main news in 2014 was that INDRA reported a six-month delay. INDRA will not finish the ICAS demonstrator in time for the simulation. A joint session was held with all the parties involved on 27 January 2015 and a new schedule was drawn up. The simulation has now been pushed back from the end of December 2015 to early June 2016. Preparations at the LVNL and NLR continue and are on schedule. It is possible that the pace of the work will be reduced slightly given the overrun on the schedule.