On the 09th March 2017, the Royal Aeronautical Society Heathrow Branch successfully concluded the 54th Sir Richard Fairey Named Lecture at the British Airways Waterside Theatre. The lecture, presented by two guest speakers from Thales Avionics, Oliver Frerotte, Airport Operations Technical Expert and Pierre Carpentier, Airport Operations Product Manager , and was entitled ‘Advances In Airport Technology‘.
Olivier is an automatic pilot expert, who actively participated in recent Thales Avionics successes. In 2014, Olivier took over Thales Airport Operation Function (AOF) product line as a Technical Expert in charge of its industrialisation, contributing in particular to the development of an EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) solution. Pierre joined Thales Avionics in 2000, and was appointed as a product manager of AOF in 2013. Along with the Marketing & Sales team and the technical experts of the domain, he defined the development Roadmap for Thales AOF line.
Presentation for evening was coherently delivered by both speakers. Mr Carpentier focused on the current issues surrounding taxiing and implementations of the current system. Despite the complexity of modern airports, pilots’ situational awareness decreases once the aircraft is on ground. As per the data suggests there are 2 runway incursions a day in Europe and 4 in US. Contributing factors being – poor visibility, confusing signage, reflections and changes to airport configurations etc.
Safety and efficiency of operations on ground is a major concern for all airports, irrespective of aircraft type and size. Aircraft remains exposed to other aircrafts, ground vehicles and personnel. Damages on ground cost airlines between $4-7 billion annually. To overcome this, various solutions such as ‘follow the greens’, Taxibot and onboard airport moving map have been introduced. First onboard airport moving map was introduced in A380, this has now become a commonality in new airliners.
Mr Frerotte engaged the audience with a live demonstration of the Thales Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) eAirport application. It provided a visual reference of new solutions being developed and there capabilities. The application acts as a 3D navigation tool alongside providing enhanced airport operation features, pilots can change taxi route simply by tracing finger across a touch screen. These developments are designed to make operations more efficient and aid fuel savings.
Current EFB is different if compared to Avionics. Product cost, quick process, modern technology and retrofit capabilities are some of the benefits whilst it does not provide integration with avionics functions, it is solely for pilot awareness (navigation and alerting functions are prohibited) and has a cockpit side display. Future updates will have relevant airport traffic, data link taxi routing allowing Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to exchange dialogue via CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications). All of these developments are part of the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) research project.
Mr Frerotte and Mr Carpentier demonstrated to the audience, Airport Moving Map, the future of airport navigation technology seems extremely exciting – with the forthcoming technical advances the simplicity within the system is the new approach towards improving safety, efficiency and situational awareness.
Looking forward to the upcoming lecture next month, which is the last lecture of the 2016/17 season, the RAeS Heathrow Branch is welcoming John Thorpe FRAeS, a former BAC Flight Test Engineer to present a lecture entitled ‘BAC1-11 Initial Flight Trials’. He will give us an insight in to the background of the BAC1-11 whilst giving details of some of the deep stall accidents as well as sharing his own experiences while working as a flight test observer at Wisley. You can now register online to attend our lectures at tiny.cc/RAeSLHR.
Karanvir Uppal, 13 March 2017