View Full Version : ATCDP - Air Tracffic Control Development Program

The Error Guy
05-04-2011, 10:11 PM
As part of my work in creating a software development company called MTOS Interactive i have begun work on a project we call ATCDP (Air Tracffic Control Development Program)

We Aim to start trialling this (in the next few years IF we get that far :D) with Wellington airport. I was just wondering what you though of our "sales pitch" as it were. Its just a short piece of information about ATCDP and how it works. Please not, this is very very early in development and no huge amount of work has gone into this text or the applications yet. Although I have given it lots of thought myself.

The aim of the ATCDP is to provide a streamlined, easy to use and safer method for controlling aircraft logistics whilst on the ground or on approach.

Our Motivation for designing ATCDP that although the current method for ATC ground control is adequate it is an outdated concept that can be prone to error if not handled very carefully. We aim to combat this by providing a digital service that is both informative and easy to use whilst also being safe and reliable. Some of the main problems with the current ATC system is the way information is handled.

When aircraft are on the ground there is very little information that the controllers can rely on other than verbal communications from the pilots or visual confirmation from the tower. In smaller airports such as wellington this is not such a major problem however in larger airports such as LAX bad weather can seriously affect the safety of the Airways because pilots and controllers alike are not able to see where they are on the runways and taxiways or a simple lapse of concentration could result in disaster.

ATCDP aims to combat this by using digital communications such as GPS and an advanced touch operated GUI to help ATC’s and pilots alike stay in safe communications with each other whilst being efficiently transferred around the airport.

The program will show on the main digital display the current location of the aircraft, its current ground speed, take-off weight and path that it will take from pushback to the runway and howe far it has been cleared to taxi as well as other vital information. A situation where this could be useful could be as follows:

An air craft is not cleared to proceed (eg taxis onto the runway when it is supposed to be holding short) the program will notify the ATC so they can make appropriate decisions.


And A/C is cleared for landing however an A/C has also been cleared to taxi across the runway OR has begun to cross the runway without clearance from the tower.

Anyway the application is in its very infant stages, more of a concept (however work has commenced for GUI designs) We still lack a programmer as the only decent programmer on the team is tied up developing a network administration system and I can't program for s**t. (Reading C++ for dummies :D)

Tell me what you think of the idea and whether or not you think it would be useful (or just plain useles)

05-04-2011, 11:14 PM
Sounds good, but how do you propose to track the aircraft physically? You mention GPS, do you mean a GPS receiver in the craft, transmitting its location to the tower via radio link?

What if the craft were tracked on the ground using radar, relying on a human operator to tag them (flight numbers, etc)?

The Error Guy
06-04-2011, 08:38 AM
I haven't read much about ground radar but It could pose some problems. I propose that tracking would be conducted via GPS. Flight information would be added by the crew into ICAS on larger aircraft or into a smaller flight computer on smaller A/C.

Ground radar can be faulty as well as having problems with "shielding" where an A/C does not show because one or more A/C are shielded by another aircraft.

As I said. Not a lot of planning at this stage. these are all things we will be considering IF this goes anywhere at all

07-04-2011, 03:57 PM
Try this (posted by Trev last year) and get some practice :D

Airport Madness (http://www.allfreegames.eu/free-online-games-play-Airport+Madness+3-14599.html)

In all seriousness though, are you sure yours is not a cure for something that's not broke? Apart from notable lapses in communication such as the collision at Tenerife (I forget which airport), ground control surveillance is pretty sophisticated now, even to allocating priority in departure sequences. GPS and other tracking devices give the guys in the cockpit precision guidance where to taxi, which in a complex airport like LAX is an achievement in itself.

Id start locally by talking to ATC, NZALPA, and local airlines, and get their inputs first. You need that input before developing your sales pitch so individual needs can be identified then addressed. PM me if youd like a chat.

The Error Guy
07-04-2011, 04:31 PM
Cheers for that Walone. We were going to get onto talking to Wlg airport sooner or later.

The dev team as such has decided to hold off ATCDP untill we have successfully built a FULLY functioning MT screen. Embeded the Multi touch drivers into windows and linux and learned how to integrate with the multi touch API's etc.

Untill then ATCDP is kinda dead in the water.

Hopefully sometime in the next few months i'll be sending you a PM Walone.

07-04-2011, 04:57 PM
@ Error Guy

Thanks for that, I'll look forward to a call at some stage. Whenever your ready.

Just keep in mind ground control eventually feed into the greater ATC system, and although collision avoidance is a major part of ground control, it's only part of the greater scheme of things. Wellington is not an ideal testing ground, and I believe you'd be better off talking to ATC in Auckland. Auckland look after a region with around 2/3 of airspace in the Pacific, and also contract out their services for airways, approach and departure control in other parts of the world. All done from lil' 'ol AKL. :D

The Error Guy
07-04-2011, 05:58 PM
Eventually we want to get it to a stage where it can show the vectors of A/C, their flight levels etc and warn ATC if their is an impending "disaster"

Most mid air crashes happen slowly when one flight drifts up into another flight level or when an aircraft diverges from from its intended course.

All part of the planning but we thought we should start small, also we can practically test ground control situations. its not that easy (or cheap) to get aircraft to fly for us. that should wait until its decided if this is a go ahead plan.

Cheers for your input though! much appreciated

09-04-2011, 06:52 AM
Eventually we want to get it to a stage where it can show the vectors of A/C, their flight levels etc and warn ATC if their is an impending "disaster"

I'm pretty sure they have this anyway. Would be worried if they didn't

Most mid air crashes happen slowly when one flight drifts up into another flight level or when an aircraft diverges from from its intended course.

Aircraft seldom "drift up to another flight level" due to autopilot flight level hold. For causes of mid air collision see

If your system requires additional fit to aircraft then I suspect the airline industries will balk at it. There are a lot of aircraft out there.

Sorry to be a bit of a "stick in the mud"