16.03.2018.

Inform Before Flight

CCL was first in the world to present a unique airspace management solution operationally used in the Republic of Croatia from June 2017.

Inform Before Flight For the first time Croatia Control Ltd. (CCL) presented itself at its own stand at this year’s World Air Traffic Management Congress held in Madrid March 6-8.

A reason for such an important step forward is its own airspace management solution: a web-based tool known as the AMC Portal. A great interest was shown in the presentation of the AMC Portal at the Congress, which could be seen from the number of presentations, amounting to more than fifty, held for the representatives of multiple states and international institutions, stemming from different aviation fields.

We have therefore asked Mr Vlado Bagarić, Director General of CCL, to tell us more about his impressions, experiences and the overall success of CCL’s participation at such a world event, traditionally attended by most of important exhibitors in the field of air traffic.

WHAT IS THE AMC PORTAL?



The AMC Portal is a web-based tool designed in CCL to inform all airspace users of the current airspace status. Besides the current situation view, the AMC Portal also provides information on approved activities for the following short-term period, i.e. a few days in advance.

The basic premise during the development of the tool was to inform all users of the current status in airspace in a simple manner, understandable to all. That is why it was decided that the slogan for the advertising campaign would be “INFORM BEFORE FLIGHT”.

As the tool was being created, a special emphasis was put on our new airspace users – the drone operators (drone/RPAS/UAS), whose time is yet to come. Due to specific characteristics and the availability of the new technology, drone operators enter the airspace, in most cases filled with enthusiasm, but lacking the knowledge needed to fulfill safety standards and the rules of conduct in airspace.

Our main goal is safety, i.e. safe implementation of all activities in airspace, as well as informing all users in a single place, available to all, in a simple and fast manner, which is one of the preconditions for accomplishing that goal.

WHERE DID THE IDEA TO DEVELOP THE AMC PORTAL COME FROM?

Following the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union, a number of regulations had to be accepted and implemented, including those relating to aviation. The older member states already had certain concepts and rules developed, which we had yet to face.

The same pertained to the field of airspace management (ASM) and the flexible use of airspace (FUA).

The regulations were implemented promptly, but we needed more time to establish all needed organizational units and to train the staff. Consequently, there are states even today which adopted all regulations, but there are difficulties in their implementation.

By establishing the National Airspace Management Committee and the Airspace Management Cell (AMC), the operational preconditions to implement the regulations were met.

A combination of young people trained in the required fields and the colleagues with many years of experience in various fields of air traffic control and military flying, all gathered under the AMC, their joint initiative and the openness to new technologies resulted in creating an excellent concept which was recognized and approved by the Management. 

I would like to emphasize the continuous and outstanding coordination between military and civil airspace users at all levels – strategic to tactical – without the support of which this project most certainly would not be accomplished.

WHAT ABOUT THE COMPETITION?



From what I and all of our experts have seen, and judging from the competing solutions, none of them was proven operationally, whereas our product has been as of June 2017.

Also, none of the presented solutions had a preview of the complete situation in real time. By saying that, I mean a preview of all known and approved airspace activities in a single place and on different charts, 3D and 2D, which are understandable even to somebody conducting an airspace activity for the first time.

Furthermore, our solution also enables direct communication through an internal messaging system between the user and the national ASM system, which is only one among its multiple other capabilities.

Put simply, the AMC Portal is the first implemented operational tool for the real-time airspace management of all activities, and as such it dictates the pace of development for the competitors, and at the same time it simplifies the regulation-making process for the regulator, in the sense of regulations enabling the advanced FUA implementation of the 21st century.

HOW MUCH DOES THE AMC PORTAL CHANGE FOR AN AVERAGE AIRSPACE USER?

During the development of the Portal, special emphasis was placed on the airspace users, their needs, the type of activities they conduct, the speed of action and informing in line with the requirements and dynamics of the 21st century, and finally on the safety aspect.

Within the framework of the existing regulations and safety standards, a direct communication channel was created between the user and the competent organizations and bodies issuing required approvals.

The principle is simple. In essence, the prescribed user data is collected during the registration process. Following a successful registration, the user does not need to submit additional data anymore. In a simple way, they can submit their requests to use certain airspace structures, see the rules they must abide to, and activate and deactivate the reservation.

All of that is contained in various charts on the Portal with the purpose of informing other airspace users before conducting the activity.

The concept is in line with the EU regulations pertaining to airspace management and completely transparent.

Small users and unmanned aircraft systems operators got a simpler approach to wanted airspace which matches their realistic needs.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?

If we observe airspace as a single whole which is easily accessible to all users – civil, military or other state users – in which all of them need to conduct their activities, with the galloping introduction of new technologies, it is clear that also the air navigation service providers need to follow that pace and adjust to the coming challenges and requirements.

Out of the exact reason, with my guidance CCL will continue following those new technologies and the related requirements in the field of airspace management as well as in all other fields of air traffic control.

WHAT IS YOUR CONCLUSION AFTER THE CCL’S FIRST PARTICIPATION AT SUCH AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT?

A conclusion can be drawn from all I have said earlier, which is that at the moment and among all we have seen at such an international event, in the Republic of Croatia we are the only ones with the first operational and complete solution for dynamic airspace management which can fulfill the current requirements of advanced airspace management in real time.