Glasgow airport is the first airport in the world to install a new cutting edge safety enhancement technology developed by NATS, the UK based company that provides air traffic services and solutions.
The system uses NASA satellite data to create a three-dimensional map of the ground around Glasgow Airport, and uses it as a model to test unsafe altitudes. The technology will allow air traffic controllers to test flight paths with perfect accuracy, while maintaining a safe distance from the ground.
NATS senior systems engineer, Andrew Wood, said, ‘This is the first system in the UK to use 3D terrain mapping in a live operational environment.
The new system is the most accurate in the world. It brings improved safety for aircraft and passengers and will give controllers even greater confidence.
The system has been verified to trigger when aircraft are either entering a dangerous rate of descent or are in close proximity to the ground.
We had to ensure that the alerts being raised were valid, as well as proving that no aircraft in danger were failing to trigger alerts.’
The successful launch of the programme will have assured the expansion of the technology to other airports in the UK.
NATS engineering director, Iain Harris, said, ‘This project has been developed in-house by NATS from the ground up and is a prime example of our ability to innovate for enhanced safety performance.’
The current project is a result of joint efforts between NATS and the Safety Regulation Group of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).