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Jean46's picture

Google, NASA work together to design drone air-traffic-control system

Google is partnering with NASA and 13 other companies, including Amazon and Verizon, to create an air-traffic control system for drones, called the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Traffic Management.

Drones are the way of the future, and ? rather than let the air be clogged with unruly, unregulated unmanned robots ? the government is seeking to work with the private sector to create rules of the aerial road. The move comes after a series of incidents involving drones, including crashes at national parks and on the White House grounds. Yet, for some businesses, the regulations can’t come fast enough.

ATCO Workload

Interesting and useful discussion on ATCO workload:


dallas's picture

On-duty air traffic controller found passed out drunk

An on-duty air traffic controller was arrested after being found passed out drunk with his shirt off at his desk at Springdale airport, Arkansas.

He was found on Thursday morning at the Springdale Municipal Airport in Arkansas by a colleague who said he was “passed out in his chair with his shirt off”, according to a police report.

A pilot waiting on the tarmac preparing to take off could not get a response from the tower last Thursday, said airport official Wyman Morgan, who called the police.

The ATCO was swaying on his feet, slurring his speech and struggling to balance, said the report. It also said he was too intoxicated to climb down a steep ladder to leave the tower. He was arrested in connection with public intoxication and held at Springdale jail.

dallas's picture

First phase of European satellite-based air traffic control communication system completed

Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA) have completed Phase 1 of ESA’s Iris Precursor, the new satellite-based air–ground communication system for Air Traffic Management (ATM).

The completion of Phase 1 – which has validated the architecture and system design, plus the safety and security of ESA’s Iris programme - releases €7.6m in funding from ESA and its partners for Phase 2, which will lead development of an enhanced satellite network to overlay existing terrestrial VHF networks to carry ATM communications over European skies.

ESA’s Iris programme is part of the European Union’s Single European Skies ATM Research (SESAR) initiative, which aims to address the annual €4bn cost resulting from deficiencies in the European ATM system.  Inmarsat state that without SESAR flying in Europe will reach its growth limits, consequently leading to delays, higher costs for airlines, and higher CO? emissions.

70% of Air Crashes in Nigeria Caused by Regulatory Inefficiency, Says AON

Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) said about 70 per cent of the air accidents that happened in Nigeria were caused by regulatory inefficiency and negligence by government agencies in the industry.

This was disclosed by the Executive Chairman of AON, Captain Nogie Meggison, while speaking at the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Safer Skies Forum in Lagos, lamenting that airlines lose about $120 million (about N27.6 billion) to bird strike incidents alone annually.

Meggison explained that every year the airlines record 30 incidents of airstrikes which is the entering of birds into the aircraft engines at landing or take off. This he said is average of two and half incidents every month, adding that the cost of a single aisle aircraft engine is about $4 million, which airlines acquire to replace their damaged engines.

Giorgos's picture

Firemen to provide ATC information to pilots in Australia

Air traffic controllers have vowed to fight a move to allow firefighters at regional airports to provide basic air traffic information to ­pilots, although pilots have ­received the idea warmly.

As revealed yesterday, after years of campaigning by aviators including businessman Dick Smith, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority issued a statement to The Weekend Australian saying airports could apply on a case-by-case basis to have ground staff ­obtain training and a legal exemption to provide such services.

The move opens the prospect of Australian airports that do not have air traffic control towers adopting the American practice, where fire and rescue officers, mechanics, baggage handlers and check-in staff using the Unicom radio system give pilots observable information such as what aircraft are circling and on the runway.

2_b_or_not's picture

Belgian flights halted after air traffic power fault

More than 200 flights in and out of Belgium were cancelled or diverted on Wednesday after a power surge disabled the operations of domestic air traffic controller Belgocontrol.

At Brussels Zaventem, the country's main airport, queues formed at the desk of national airline Brussels Airlines as passengers sought to re-book flights.

The suspension prevented flights arriving at or leaving all Belgium's airports, although planes could still cross at higher altitudes, where the upper air space is controlled by European traffic authority Eurocontrol.

loulou's picture

FAA ATCO recruits may have cheated on exams

Millions of Americans are about to fly to summer vacations unaware that some of the air traffic controllers guiding their planes may have cheated on a key test to get their jobs.  A six month investigation by the FOX Business Network into the hiring and training of air traffic controllers raises troubling questions about the nation’s air safety and the men and women the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, hires to staff airport control towers.  

dallas's picture

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations On Wrong Airport Landings

Based on the NTSB’s investigation of two recent airline flights that landed at wrong airports because of confusion with other near-by airports, the agency today issued two recommendations to the FAA intended to help avoid those situations. The recommendations ask the FAA to clarify air traffic controller landing clearances when multiple airports are in the vicinity and to modify air traffic control software which warns air traffic controllers when aircraft have descended below a minimum safe altitude.  This software is intended to alert controllers when an aircraft gets too close to terrain or objects in the aircraft’s flight path. The NTSB last year issued warnings to airline pilots on maintaining vigilance to avoid wrong airport landings, giving pilots specific recommendations of what they could do.  Today’s recommendations are addressed to the FAA as the agency responsible for air traffic control.

Jean46's picture

Scathing report: FAA isn’t delivering what was promised in $40 billion project

A day after the Federal Aviation Administration celebrated the latest success in its $40 billion modernization of the air-traffic control system, the agency was hit Friday by the most scathing criticism to date for the pace of its efforts.

The FAA has frustrated Congress and been subject to frequent critical reports as it struggles to roll out the massive and complex system called NextGen, but the thorough condemnation in a study released Friday by the National Academies was unprecedented.

Mincing no words, the panel of 10 academic experts brought together by the academy’s National Research Council (NRC) said the FAA was not delivering the system that had been promised and should “reset expectations” about what it is delivering to the public and the airlines that use the system.

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