DFS Introduces Distant Aerodrome Control Service

Germany’s air traffic control company, DFS GmbH will be introducing its distant aerodrome control service for the first time at the ATC Global Amsterdam from 8 to 10 March. Using the distant aerodrome control service, aerodrome controllers can switch between the display of visual information and sensor data. They are no longer primarily reliant on the direct out-of-window view. Aerodrome control is now possible both from distant locations as well as under poor visibility. DFS is also showing its modular PHOENIX Tower Automation Suite and additional auto teller machine (ATM) solutions.

The distant aerodrome control solution provides the controller with a combination of visual data on the one hand, as well as instrument and sensor data on the other. This combination allows the controller to readily review the air and ground traffic situation at the airport and in its vicinity. High-resolution pictures from video cameras installed at the aerodrome deliver an artificial real-time view. By means of a monitor wall attached above the regular console screens, the controller can track aircraft on the apron and runway as well as zoom in as necessary and the real external view is replicated as precisely as possible.

In the case of poor visibility or darkness, the controller can easily switch from visual data transmission to the air and ground situation display provided by the PHOENIX multi-sensor data fusion system. The controller is supported by weather, flight plan and surveillance data when reviewing the traffic situation. The sensor technology allows the controller to easily zoom from the air to the ground situation and several zoom windows can be displayed simultaneously. Information ranging from approaching aircraft to the runway situation can be supplied at the same time. The ground situation display shows runways, buildings and the lighting system.

Head of Tower Systems at DFS Detlef Schulz-Rückert said: “In a similar way to instrument flight rule (IFR) flights, controllers would in the future be able to work under instrument control rules (ICR) and do without the direct visual information about the situation on the manoeuvring area.” Thanks to the Distant Aerodrome Control Service, several small aerodromes can be controlled from one central control room. It is also an option when considering the replacement of an old tower or as an emergency tower at international hubs.

With its tower console, DFS is also presenting a set of modular ATM systems, the PHOENIX Tower Automation Suite (TAS). The TAS integrates PHOENIX with a flight plan processing system, safety net functions and the electronic position logging system used for electronically recording working times and responsibilities of air traffic controllers. Visitors can also take a closer look at the Advanced Arrival Management System (A-AMAN), characterised by its generic structure, the advanced meteorological display system for air traffic control (METFROG) and the simulation solutions provided by DFS.

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