This article explains how rigorous and effective monitoring of ATC infrastructure helps detecting early warning signs of a problem.
The provision of the Air Traffic Control Service is based on the synergistic efforts from various technical sections. ECR (Equipment and Control Room), CNS (Communication and Navigation System), Radar Technical, Air Navigation Services, Electronics, and Mechanical departments are working together for ensuring smooth operations. Just like a small pebble can generate waves in stagnant water in the same way an error can disturb a system's harmony. All departments and their related facilities together can be considered as an integrated system. The core function of this integrated system is the provision of smooth air traffic control services.
Malfunctioning in an integral part of this system can deteriorate the quality of air traffic control services. Malfunctioning of a part of a system normally results as a consequence of a single trigger factor. Sometimes this trigger factor makes the situation worse by activating more triggers. These all-trigger factors associated with activity result in partial or an overall system failure. From this fact, it becomes clear that we require all intact systems to be monitored at each and every successive stage round the clock. By rigorous and effective monitoring, we can detect the early warning signs of a problem.
Importance of early detection
Now a question may come to our mind what is the use of early detection of warning signs. Early detection of warning signs will help us to intervene in the situation at an early stage when the horizon of impact is smaller due to limited contributing factors. Hence at an early stage, we are in a better position to control or mitigate the loss to prevent the onset of a downtime.
The radar system provides help to air traffic controllers in the provision of air traffic control services. It provides a monitoring facility to air traffic controllers to ensure safety among air traffic and perform their job efficiently. Malfunctioning in radar systems can not only hamper the quality of services but can also lead to a devastating outcome in terms of loss of separation or air traffic collision. Such a catastrophic situation is a chain effect of downtime related to the functioning of radar. Consider an Air Traffic Revenue Management system that is linked with Radar System.
This system is connected with radar for recording aircraft movement data on a real-time basis. Aircraft identification along with its type, registration, and reporting time is being recorded and fed to the air traffic revenue management system. Based on the above-stated information the smooth connectivity between these two systems becomes an important aspect. Loss in connectivity or downtime can hinder the recording of aircraft movement data and can lead to loss of revenue. Similarly, there is a risk associated with the intermittent working of a radar system. As a consequence of the intermittent working of a radar system for a specified portion of time, there exists a probability of loss of aircraft movement data. Loss of aircraft movement data is associated with loss of revenue.
A monitoring system is a vital requirement in ATC
There is a vital requirement for such a system that there must be a counter-check on the connectivity and performance of the system. We must develop such a monitoring system, that has a hawk’s eye on its operations and can identify the problem area which is causing hindrance in the smooth operation of the whole system.
All of such situations lead towards a ground of grave consequences. Such disastrous situations can be avoided or the horizon of their impact can be reduced through timely intervention. Applying the Prognostic approach through the utilization of the monitoring and training system can rectify such issues. Such a system will provide a framework for being able to monitor the causes of faults and thereby rectifying the issues at the earliest in order to avoid costs associated with downtime.
Monitoring system with performance evaluation
The Monitoring Systems including performance evaluation can easily detect the lack of connectivity at any point in time between ATC subsystems and networks. Whether this connectivity is between two systems or either between a radar system and its subsystem like revenue management system, flight progress strip generation and printing system, etc.
At times software utilized for different associated subsystems like revenue management systems and radar systems are from the same or different vendors. In both cases, there is an ultimate requirement of synchronization of systems through software configuration. These different subsystems operate independently but require consistent and continuous synchronization with other parts. Where an air traffic revenue management system is not an associated module of radar under such circumstances it is mostly installed at a separate location. At times due to lack of interoperability or lack of power one of the component systems requires to get rebooted. And the only option left is to reboot, and it invites downtime.
Whether such downtime is of short or longer duration it has its associated cost both tangible and intangible. It also has various risk factors associated with it. It would have been much better if, through proper training for settling a remote monitoring system as a preliminary measure, the issue of the power supply section was resolved early by approaching the focal point and enhancing its performance. And through such early response, we can avoid downtimes in Air Traffic Control Services.
Sky Radar's Monitoring Training System for ATSEP not only provide them with fundamental knowledge for establishing a remote monitoring system but also equips them with a pedagogical monitoring software. This monitoring software is configurable with a wide range of systems. It strengthens visual analysis through status indicators in form of graphs.
We can expect many applications working in coherence with the main system without being its associated module. And similarly, functions of many installations are connected in a loop with other systems and subsystems. Degradation in one system can have an impact on the other installations or systems. As a consequence, to it, we can expect downtimes that can be linked with total system failure. Downtime can have its impacts translated as either monetary loss or other risk factors that are depended on the nature of functions being performed. Through the inclusion of a Monitoring Training System, we can avoid such downtimes or control the level of their impact.
Are you interested in the pedagogical monitoring system?
If you are an aviation academy of training center, you might be interested in SkyRadar's Pedagogical Monitoring Training System for ATC.
SkyRadar's monitoring environment trains ATSEP on rapidly locating errors or points of system degradation, on rapidly fixing them and keeping downtimes short.
The system includes a pedagogically enhanced monitoring environment and a simulated ATC environment. It connects to the various training laboratories by SkyRadar.