Supporting controllers and flight crew is especially important in low-visibility conditions. A line of red lights, known as stop bars, are already used to prevent aircraft entering a runway without air traffic control clearance. In addition to these physical safety nets, SESAR is advancing a novel virtual stop bar solution.
During low visibility, the ground controller can introduce procedural control to maintain safe separation, requiring clearance for aircraft to enter different areas. SESAR has developed virtual stop bars to help the ground controller provide surface movement guidance at these times, displaying red stop lights on the controller’s display. The virtual stop bars can be used by the controller to reduce block sizes according to the conditions.
If the airport surface surveillance system identifies an infringement, the controller’s display receives an alert. Similarly, for aircraft equipped with datalink, the location of virtual stop bars can be uplinked to the airport moving map. These virtual stop bars are a valuable defence against aircraft and vehicles inadvertently entering an area without clearance from the ground controller. Providing alerts on the ground controller’s display enhances safety and improves predictability of surface movements. Taxi times improve and variability are reduced in low-visibility conditions, thereby reducing fuel burn and emissions.
SJU references: #48/ Release 5
• Improved predictability
• Enhanced safety
• Reduced fuel burn and emissions