The FAA plans to restore its Chicago air route traffic control center (Artcc) to normal operation by October 13 following a fire that damaged the facility’s communications equipment and led to the disruption and cancellation of thousands of flights. The agency has also tasked its Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and unions to review contingency plans for major facilities in the wake of the September 26 fire, which was allegedly set by a disgruntled contract worker.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
Aireon, a joint venture involving Iridium Communications and Nav Canada, the country’s private-sector civil air navigation service provider, has announced a plan to provide free real-time global emergency flight tracking for any ADS-B equipped aircraft. The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking service will be available to authorized search-and-rescue operations, soon after the completion of the Iridium Next satellite constellation in 2017.
HungaroControl, the air navigation service provider of Hungary, said it has started a €6.8 million ($9 million) program to implement data communications between controllers and pilots. The company plans to introduce controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) next February as required by Single European Sky regulation.
In its relatively new role as Europe’s ATC “network manager,” Eurocontrol achieved its time target for en route flight delays in 2013. But more so than in the previous year, air traffic controller job actions prevented better performance, the agency said.
Nav Canada’s commercial division entered into an agreement to provide tower automation products at six ATC towers in Italy operated by air navigation service provider ENAV. Nav Canada did not disclose the value of the contract with Italian company Techno Sky, which performs engineering and maintenance support of the ENAV facilities.
On Monday this week, the day before the LABACE show opened at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazilian business aviation industry group ABAG held a conference at which Coronel Aviador Ary Rodrigues Bertolino, head of CGNA (Air Traffic Management Center), analyzed the organization’s role planning air traffic for the 2014 soccer World Cup (Copa do Mundo de Futebol).
Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the UK, plans to award German state-owned air navigation service provider DFS a 10-year contract to provide air traffic and approach services around the airport, located 28 miles south of London. The new airport tower services contract begins in October 2015
Countries including Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand have an interest in using “remote towers” to control air traffic, according to Saab, which is already certifying one such facility in Sweden. The company is also competing to provide systems for three airports in Germany and up to 75 in Norway.
A proliferation of large wind farms in recent years has posed a new challenge to both air traffic control and the renewable energy industry. The rotating blades of wind turbines can appear as false aircraft returns on air traffic and other radars. This clutter can lead to radars becoming de-sensitized in the area of the wind farms, resulting in genuine aircraft tracks being all too easily lost. This phenomenon has already prevented or delayed the establishment of new wind farms due to objections from aviation authorities.
At the recent ILA Berlin Airshow, Airbus Defence & Space reported progress with the passive radar [alternatively, passive coherent location (PCL)] system that predecessor company Cassidian had been developing since 2006. Frank Bernhardt, project manager, said that the company has “worked closely” with two armed forces on tests of the system. One of them is Germany.
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