Re: 747-400 Initial Cruise

Date:         29 Nov 97 03:24:33 
From:         Graeme Cant <graemec@ibm.net>
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Cass Alexander wrote:

> ...Those paying for such an costly (though not necessarily expensive)
> system will no doubt equip their fleets at the earliest opportunity,
> then support moves to decline access to the airspace within which they
> operate to non-airline, non-ADS equipped aircraft...

>...Fanciful?...

>... The bottom line is that whenever airlines complain about restrictive ATC
> practices in airspace within which advanced technologies such as FANS
> are in operational use, perhaps they should first have checked whether
> they are contributing to those restrictions by - in addition to parallel
> scheduling - failing to equip their fleets with avionics which take full
> advantage of those advanced services.

Cass,
1.  ATC is there to serve the airlines and if THEY find that parallel
scheduling is commercially appropriate, YOU will find an efficient way
to accomodate it.  Only in Australia does the ATC authority complain
that the airlines keep flying aeroplanes into ATC's airspace...

2.  "Whenever airlines complain about restrictive ATC...".  Well, we've
done the equipping.  So have a lot of others.  Where are YOUR proposals
to deny the prime airspace to those who aren't equipped?  YOUR
egalitarian bureaucracy is the one that has real problems with that.
The airlines don't.  You talk about it as if it's a whole stunning new
concept.  It may be to you, but it's not to anyone else.

3.  I'm staggered that the whole of your long thesis revolves around the
concept of 'manual' ATC - where every aircraft is personally
controlled.  That 1930s concept is inadequate to cope for more than
about another ten years.  You see ADS and CPDLC as a smart form of HF
position reporting and you're staggered that aircraft are actually where
they know they are.  Your thinking is still set in a frame of doing
quicker what you're already doing.

Unfortunately, that is a dead end which cannot cope with current levels
of traffic in some areas.  The paradigm shift (knew that would be useful
one day) that is needed is the move to "just-in-time" ATC - Free
Flight.  Only enough ATC to resolve the conflicts.  TCAS, GPS, FMCs are
the real technologies which will allow the huge growth in air traffic
which is about to come.

Look at your list of problems:

> 1. The ability of the responsible traffic management authority to accept
> the air-derived data from participating aircraft and display it to their
> controllers. In the absence of ground-based FANS facilities, separation
> reductions to minimas will not materialise.

> 2. The administering authority must also have created and promulgated
> safe separation standards which can be used by the controllers under a
> variety of both operational circumstances and system mode degradations...

The free flight paradigm (love that word) solves all of that.  It also
puts control back in the aircraft.  Can you imagine a concept where
trucks were only allowed onto a freeway at regular intervals and had to
report their progress every ten minutes to some 'controller' to ensure
they were still far enough apart?  ...And were only allowed to travel
closer together if they talked to the controller more often?  It's
laughable.  The current system was needed when aicraft couldn't 'see'.
Now, with electronics, they can, and the old system is a dinosaur.

Within ten years, aircraft will be leaving the factory with an
integrated suite of electronics which will calculate potential conflicts
and co-operatively work with the other traffic to resolve the conflict.
No ground station will be involved in this process. This will be the
technology used in most cruise flight.  Manual ATC will only occur on
climb/descent from/to terminal areas.  I'm sorry Cass, but that lovely
new system of yours will barely be paid for before it's obsolete.  It's
the last part of the air transport system that hasn't shifted to the jet
age.

A friend of mine once said that the trouble with ATC was that someone
once called them 'controllers' and they think that's what they have to
do.  They forget that the aim is only to separate traffic.

Graeme Cant