150 civil and military operational, regulatory and safety experts, representing Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and National Aviation Authorities from across Europe, attended a one day seminar on 17th December, focusing on the safety and efficiency benefits gained from the deployment of Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) Mode S Enhanced Surveillance (EHS).
This development of Mode S enables controllers to know the altitude, airspeed, ground speed, heading, rate of climb or descent and the altitude to which an aircraft is climbing or descending, without having to ask the pilot. This enhancement not only saves a great deal of time and effort in the form of reduced radio telecommunication between pilots and controllers, it also has great safety benefits. John Law, EUROCONTROL's Mode S & ACAS Programme Manager said "This event has heard from EUROCONTROL, NATS (UK) and HungaroControl who have highlighted the very real safety, capacity and efficiency benefits of EHS, which translate directly into commercial and business gains. It has also paved the way for States to begin exploring the future development potential of EHS and to look at how it can best be tailored and adapted to meet their specific requirements." Mode S EHS was first introduced into the busy and complex London Terminal Manoeuvring Area in December 2005 and swiftly proved its worth. The following year, the number of level busts (incidents of aircraft climbing or descending through their cleared flight levels) had reduced by 24% thanks to controllers being aware of what flight level the pilot has actually selected in the cockpit. Since then, many other ANSPs from States throughout Europe, such as Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and including the EUROCONTROL Upper Area Control Centre at Maastricht, are investigating the utilisation of down linked aircraft parameters.