Promising Trial Results during Schiphol Nighttime Operations

- Madrid, Spain.

Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) is conducting initial trials at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands of a prototype of Boeing’s Trajectory Manager. The ‘Night Optimal Way to Land’, or Night OWL trial, started on February 1 and will continue until the end of May with several pre-planned test-nights. The system enables Schiphol Approach and Amsterdam Radar to jointly manage inbound traffic to meet a specific time over a merging point. The tested concept is seen as a key enabler to fly continuous descent approaches from top of descent into Schiphol airport during the night. 

The prototype Trajectory Manager is a joint development with the KDC, the Knowledge and Development Centre Mainport Schiphol in which KLM, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) combine their air traffic management (ATM) innovation efforts. Boeing has been working with KDC since 2002, developing innovative ATM solutions. Chip Meserole (Programme lead, Boeing): “The Night OWL trial has produced some of the most promising result of the collaboration so far.” 

Arrival management
Environmental restrictions limit controller interventions in the terminal control area (TMA). Therefore Amsterdam Radar is challenged to deliver aircraft to the TMA within very tight tolerances from the planning. Currently system support is insufficient to achieve the required accuracy. Jasper Daams (General Manager Strategy & Performance, LVNL): “Using the Boeing prototype we were able to merge traffic without sequencing, even at the end of the busier night period. Our air traffic controllers were able see the effects of speed, heading and altitude changes prior to issuing them to pilots. We believe the Boeing prototype shows real promise as a tool for LVNL's arrival management development.” 

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, KNMI
The performance of the Trajectory Manager is greatly augmented by the accurate wind information provided by KNMI. Wind and temperature observations in the upper air, derived from Mode-S EHS surveillance data, are assimilated hourly in the HIRLAM weather model to improve the forecasts. Evert Westerveld (Manager KDC at LVNL): "KNMI has been investing in the development of more accurate meteo models for aviation, for almost ten years. This investment now pays off.” 

During the tests Amsterdam Radar was assisted by Maastricht UAC through arrival message system coordination, making the trial a true multi-actor trajectory management display. The approach unit was able to merge traffic without vectoring, even at the end of the busier night period.


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