The Irish Aviation Authority, Ireland’s air navigation service provider, has always been at the leading edge of technology adoption. Now it’s taking its investment in innovation to the next level with a cutting-edge video solution supported by eir Business, enabling Dublin aircraft controllers to remotely guide the takeoff and landing of planes hundreds of miles away in Cork and Shannon airports.
Recently the Authority completed a successful pilot of the system, with 50 live trial exercises involving up to 500 aircraft. The enabling wide-area network, managed around-the-clock by eir Business, was designed from the ground up to be the most secure infrastructure possible for these highly sensitive traffic streams: live, HD video of aircraft taken directly from the Shannon and Cork airfields.
Using special state-of-the-art Saab video cameras with motion tracking and night vision, the system gives a 360° view of each airfield and streams this live to a 9m-wide video wall inside the Dublin air traffic control tower. The all-fibre eir Business network encrypts all traffic to ensure data integrity, authentication and privacy, and prevent insertion of any bogus video into the real-time feed
Irish Aviation Authority ATM Specialist Martin Hogan said the Authority chose eir Business because it was the only partner with the reach, skill level and proven ability to rapidly turn around the solution to meet the IAA’s internal deadline.
“We have a long-standing relationship with eir Business. Their level of expertise and their skills in key areas are excellent,” Martin said. “Without eir we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the Remote Towers project. They’re always enthusiastic to help and conscious of the level of safety in the aviation business. They don’t shy away from working on our high-criticality projects.”
IAA and eir cooperated to provide full network design, including traffic encryption, for the Remote Towers project, which during the live trial demonstrated that Dublin air traffic controllers could view, communicate with and land aircraft remotely in Cork and Shannon. The Authority is now examining how to use this new capability to reduce costs by deploying staff more efficiently.
Leveraging the network to do more: consolidated IT systems for air traffic management
Martin explained that the same eir Business network is supporting a second innovative project to make the Authority’s IT systems monitoring and maintenance more efficient and cost-effective, particularly from a staffing point of view.
All the IT systems that underpin the real-time business of air traffic management – including radar, voice and data comms with aircraft cockpits, navigation aids and flight data processing – have traditionally been managed as standalone IT silos by its team. A new Centralised Monitoring project now under development will allow a consolidated view of all IT systems from a central location.
The network-based Centralised Monitoring systems supports flexible staffing arrangements and helps the trainee engineers’ development by allowing staff to monitor and control all aspects of the air traffic management system from a central location.
Centralised Monitoring will also increase the resilience of the Authority’s overall IT function. While the monitoring function is currently headquartered at its Clare site, the Authority could transfer the function easily to Dublin in the event of disaster at the primary site, supported by the eir Business network.
“The aviation industry is changing, and the use of network-based services is only going to increase,” Martin said. “The Irish Aviation Authority is considered to be at the leading edge of our industry because of our investment in technology and innovation, and it’s an investment we know will continue to deliver benefits while maintaining safe and secure operational systems.”
For more information on this solution, please contact your eir Account Manager