The SESAR European Airports Consortium (SEAC), together with its partners, has completed the validation on “Follow-the-Greens” (VP-759) in Frankfurt.

“Follow-the-Greens” is an innovative and performance enhancing guidance method for aircraft movements on airport taxiways. The objective of which is to speed up the taxiing procedure of aircraft to and from the runway system, making the process more efficient. Currently, the cockpit crew is directed by radio to the assigned taxi route by the apron controllers. In future, the taxiway lighting system will be used to direct the crew and therefore the aircraft. Each segment of taxiway needed is switched on. All areas not needed, are switched off. This makes the guidance of aircraft safer, as errors are hereby minimized. The guidance system is computer controlled. This is a modification of the system already in place.

It comprises an integrated controller working position and a surface management system covering other SESAR solutions related to routing & planning and guidance. The validation was executed on the basis of the layout and traffic characteristics of Munich Airport. It focussed on the situational awareness, workload, perceived safety, usability as well as radio telecommunication for the ground controllers. Scenarios included runs in good weather as well as low visibility conditions, different traffic loads and remote ground control.

Seven controllers and five pilots from different European Airlines participated in the exercise and their initial feedback was very positive. During the validation runs up to 40 experts were involved, including members of the International Validation Team. The exercise went smoothly and the systems performed reliably and stable.

Detailed results of VP-759 are expected to become available in summer 2015.