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#CANSOsafety2017: CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2017 wrap up

10 November 2017

CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2017

As the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2017 comes to a close, I'm happy to have the opportunity to pause and reflect on the great conversations and knowledge shared during our fifth and final day together.

Whether called remote (worked from a distant location), digital (converted to bits and bytes), or virtual (computer-generated visualization), our day started with four amazing safety speed chats on the safety risk management lessons learned from the implementation of these innovative solutions. Remote, digital and virtual towers promise to revolutionize the air traffic control (ATC) industry by reducing the need for physical control towers, expanding the number of locations receiving ATC services, increasing operating hours and improving continuity of services delivered.

Our conversations explored remote, digital and virtual operations for a single aerodrome, multiple aerodromes and even contingency towers. We discussed the ability to enhance safety by fusing metadata information such as aircraft position and conflict alerting; flight data; virtual terrain overlay and obstacle alerting; runway and taxiway occupancy; position of vehicles on the airport surfaces and their trajectories; weather information; and other elements particular to an aerodrome onto air traffic controller displays.

Impressively, these technologies are available today and CANSO supports the introduction of remote, digital and virtual towers for ANSPs to expand their tower sequencing and separation services in a cost-efficient way and with sufficient or even increased levels of safety. CANSO has established the Performance-Based Regulation of Remote Towers Task Force (PBR on RT TF), with the goal of helping air navigation service providers in characterizing the general performance of a remote, digital and virtual tower system and mapping that performance to a service level.

A big thanks to Per Ahl of Saab, Mihàly Kurucz of HungaroControl, David Woodward of Indra Australia, Torbjorn Henriksen of Avinor, and Mark Robinson of Frequentis for their engagement with the CANSO community!

Through the afternoon the CANSO community engaged in intriguing conversation on the Human Performance Management Task Force (HPMTF), which is developing a Standard of Excellence for Human Performance Management; and the CANSO Standard of Excellence in Air Navigation Services - Safety (SEANS-Safety), which independently verifies the maturity of the safety management systems of participating ANSPs. The Human Performance Management Task Force has completed approximately half of the Standard of Excellence and is on schedule to complete all elements before the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2018. Additionally, the current focus of SEANS-Safety is expanding the number of assessment completed and continuing on a cost recovery model in the near term.

Finally, the day – and event – wrapped up with a shared commitment to progressing the amazing work of the Safety Standing Committee, to include exploring Safety Management Systems for new entrants; researching new measures for predictive safety; operational risk and positive safety performance; and continuing the SMS Maturity Survey annually, among others.

Lastly and most certainly not least, CANSO, the Safety Standing Committee and the Conference participants thanked Airservices Australia for their gracious support in hosting the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference2017; and NAVCANADA proudly announced their hosting of the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2018 in Banff, Canada.

Until then, be safe!



  • Conferences

About the author

Steve McMahon, Deputy Vice President for Safety and Technical Training, FAA ATO and new Chair, CANSO Safety Standing Committee

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