The Full Monty live and shadow mode trial exercise
Purpose of the exercise
The Full Monty live and shadow mode trial exercise took place from 25 January to 2 February 2016, at RIGA Airport in Latvia.
The exercise was a V3 validation studying the integration of enhanced Advanced Surface Movement, Guidance and Control Systems (A-SMGCS) functions linked to the following SESAR Solutions:
- #02 – Airport Safety Nets,
- #22 Automated Assistance to Controller for Surface Movement Planning and Routing,
- #23 D-TAXI service for CPDLC application,
- #24 Improved Vehicle Guidance,
- #47 Guidance assistance through Airfield Ground Lighting, and
- A-CWP (OFA06.01.01).
It addressed the Step 1 maturity level V3 of the SESAR Verification and Validation (V&V) Storyboard.
NATMIG and ITWP platforms
The validation activity used two test platforms:
- the NATMIG (North European ATM Industry Group) test platform (INDRA NAVIA),
- EUROCONTROL’s Integrated Tower Working Position (ITWP).
The D-TAXI service functionality was only present on the EUROCONTROL ITWP platform. Both test platforms were integrated with the live operational AGL and Flight Data Processing systems at RIGA airport.
There were two A-CWPs (Advanced Controller Working Positions - Ground and Runway) which were co-located in the tower and the validation test room at the base of the tower. Each A-CWP could be configured for NATMIG or ITWP platforms depending on the test scenario being conducted.
The “Follow the Greens” concept
The ATCOs operated in a live shadow mode environment, listening to the relevant Ground and Runway frequencies and inputting clearances into the test platforms as if they were being issued to live aircraft. This provided the ATCOs with a suitable environment to test system functionality without affecting live operations. In order to test the AGL “Follow the Greens” concept, control of the AGL system was transferred to the test platform.
In order to achieve all the validation objectives - including the ones that could not be conducted in shadow mode, two RIGA Airport airside vehicles were used. These vehicles could be configured as aircraft or airside vehicles; they were used for testing the Airport Safety Nets, automatic switching of the AGL and the D-TAXI scenarios. A live video link between the airside vehicle and the validation room/tower was established to help in communicating and in executing test scenarios.
Both test systems performed well during the validation exercise. Controller consensus was positive regarding the improvement Airport Safety Nets bring to safety and situational awareness. It was noted that not all conflicting or monitoring functions were appropriate for the RIGA Airport environment.
The routing and planning functions were seen as helping marginally in improving ATCO situational awareness, largely due to the visibility of aircraft planned routes.
Feedback concerning the D-TAXI service was that a reduction in workload and R/T was seen as positive, but there were concerns about a potential reduction in situational awareness as a result of silent communication.
The integration of D-TAXI service for improved vehicle guidance was not deemed appropriate for the RIGA Airport environment, due to the low number of vehicle movements.
The AGL functionality was deemed beneficial by the controllers. Feedback was largely positive surrounding the automatic switching of lights. This was despite continued issues with the AGL infrastructure, which was not functioning correctly.
A key conclusion from the validation was that the design of the AGL infrastructure will determine the success of automatic AGL switching. It was concluded that the control of long lamp segments did not work. Single lamp control (at least two to three) was identified as a key requirement.