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More tests of new CPDLC features at Eurocontrol Innovation Hub

In June this year, air traffic controllers, including those from Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, and pilots completed testing of new CPDLC functions at the Eurocontrol Innovation Hub in Bretigny as part of the SESAR2020 Wave2 PJ18 sol 56 project.

The latest validation (Solution 56, Exercise 01) involved a wide range of stakeholders, from operational, technical and validation teams on the Eurocontrol side, to air traffic controllers from PANSA and COOPANS Alliance, and pilots from Novair, Airbus and Thales. The 12 air traffic controllers performed 18 runs using EUROCONTROL’s ESCAPE ground simulation platform, plus an Airbus cockpit simulator was remotely connected during some dedicated tests.

From a technical point of view, the exercise confirmed several new features: system suggestions for conflict-free Descend-When-Ready clearances, a new extended planning station, Extended Projected Profile (EPP) management: a solution that uses the ATM system’s planned trajectory data directly from the aircraft’s FMS, and a very powerful HMI, as well as a live connection to the Airbus A330 remote cockpit simulator, enabling full flight mapping of ATC cooperation along with EPP data exchange.  The results and the feedback and feelings of the controllers themselves are very positive.

From an operational perspective, Eurocontrol has been able to gather significant findings and feedback from operational personnel on aspects of controller effectiveness with the new tools (new roles/tasks, work methods and HMI functions), as well as perform a number of measurements and collect data on the benefits of the new solution compared to currently used systems. All elements of the new concept have reached the V2 maturity level, and some have already been considered partially V3, according to the Operational Concept Development and Testing Methodology (E-OVCM).

What are the next steps? The European agency is emphasizing further development of the concept and the continuation of validation exercises in the upcoming SESAR 3 TBO activities, following the very positive results and conclusions of the work to date. PAŻP has already been invited to continue cooperation in these projects.

The real-time simulation was carried out as part of SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking 4DSkyways PJ18W2 Solution 56 called “Air/ground Trajectory Synchronization via lateral and vertical complex CPDLC clearances to support TBO.”