CAUG/6: Sixth annual Aeronautical User Group bigger than ever

COMSOFT’s customers from around the world again gathered to address the operational and technological topics for 2013

- Karlsruhe, Germany

Over 43 members turned out to this year’s Aeronautical User Group in order to share ideas, latest developments and lessons learned. 

The sixth CAUG meeting, yet again, gave its worldwide members a platform to explore and discuss projects for the future with Aeronautical Message Handling Systems (AMHS) and Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) top of the agenda.

COMSOFT Managing Director, Manfred Schmid, noted in his opening speech that over 90 COMSOFT AIDA-NG systems are now in operation in 52 countries in all ICAO regions, which he stated was:  “A great achievement that speaks for itself and, of course, for AIDA-NG.”

Customers’ willingness to present examples of COMSOFT product installations and their AIM Data management, along with issues and solutions, was a most valuable asset to the conference, as a record number volunteered to share their experiences. 

Alain El Baz, from skyguide Switzerland, expressed his high satisfaction with the reliability of their message handling solution from COMSOFT and Erick Chavunduka from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) spoke of their AFTN switch, commissioned in 1997, followed by their implementation of AMHS in 2010, making them one of the first AMHS capable countries in Africa. 

Praise was given to the 16 successful AMHS connections, completed by COMSOFT’s AIDA-NG around the world, however, a side note highlighted that this figure should be higher and the hesitation in Europe was questioned.

The ability of AMHS to transfer complex data structures, like digital NOTAMS, was conveyed at the previous CAUG/5 and Mr. Schmid urged customers to remember this, stating: “The abilities AMHS posses are extremely important for the future of transmissions and will, in the not too distant future, be one of the important pillars of aeronautical data transmission.” He asserted that AMHS must be utilised, given that this advanced technology is now available. 

Katis Ketheeswaran from NATS UK was able to pick up the topic and speak of the UK’s transition of their interregional AMHS connections to North America and the Asia Pacific region.  He was also able to advise other CAUG members about their transition approach and share valuable lessons learned.

Another focus was on Aeronautical Data Quality (ADQ) and the mandate of the European Commission, set to keep Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) as well as the industry on their toes. COMSOFT proved that their AIM solution CADAS is fully in line with the latest ADQ requirements, based on the AIXM 5.1 standard. It was no surprise then that the ADQ workshop proved popular for sharing ideas and possible solutions.

Another brand new topic was the European Directory Service (EDS) which has been the result of an operational concept study supplied to EUROCONTROL and carried out by COMSOFT. The validation process will now start and hopefully many volunteers will participate. 

It must also be said that a crucial note about internet security was raised due to the growing trend of connecting aeronautical systems to the public internet. This gained further audience interest during the discussions about COMSOFT’s internet security technology, which already boasts a number of satisfied customers.

The conference came to a close another success, with customer feedback highlighting the continued benefit that CAUG delivers year on year, and customers’ enthusiasm at returning in order to report on further progress.

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