Friday, 13 May 2011

GENSPACE: air traffic control for beginners

Photo courtesy EUROCONTROL
I'm just back from two days at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre just outside Paris, participating in the GENSPACE course for air traffic control experience.  Aimed at researchers and others in ATC-related activities, this is a chance to gain a bit of first-hand experience in ATC through presentations and simulations.  The EEC has extensive facilities including 44 controller consoles (see photo), 35 pilot consoles, all networked together for simulations of up to 350 aircraft.  The GENSPACE experience includes sessions controlling en-route, TMA and approach sectors, guided by experienced instructors.  I certainly learnt a lot.  It was interesting to see the different conflict resolution strategies in different sector types.  Even at our easy-paced simulations, with a group of about 16 of us covering an area over Vienna, it was pretty draining to manage an hour of traffic.  The experience will prove invaluable for our two forthcoming ATC projects with SESAR.  Thanks to EUROCONTROL and the HALA research network for the opportunity.