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Surface Traffic Alerts Improve Runway Safety

Project description

New platform to boost runway safety

Growing airport traffic poses new challenges for aviation safety. A major safety threat is represented by runway incursion that is any presence of unauthorised entities on a runway. Despite the problem, there is a key issue for aviation safety as existing airport surface management systems don’t totally eliminate the risk. ADS-B technology has advanced safety nets whose ultimate version is SURF-A/IA a platform that performs against collision when all previous barriers have failed. The EU-funded VLD2-W2 STAIRS project will develop and demonstrate SURF-A/IA airborne platforms installed in aircraft during revenue flights to prevent runway collisions. The project will control the performance of the solution in the real environment and particularly in cases of false alarm.


As a result of increasingly busy airports, safe runway operation is one of the highest challenges for aviation safety. All main aviation bodies (e.g. IATA, ICAO, CANSO, ACI, EASA, FAA & EUROCONTROL) identify runway incursion as a major safety threat.
Safety has been improved thanks to airport surface management systems: A-SMGCS is available on many major airports and ground safety nets (e.g. RWSL) start to be deployed. However, these systems are not expected to fully resolve the runway incursion risk and are not envisaged to be deployed at smaller airports. Incursion rate remains steady (3/100.000 operations) and events continue to occur (28 near-miss collisions last 5 years).
Although TCAS has been in use since 1981, there is currently no aircraft system to prevent runway collisions. Within S2020-W1 PJ03B05, ADS-B technology is leveraged to validate on-board SURFace Alerts with possible Indications (SURF-A & SURF-IA). SURF-A/IA is the ultimate safety net against collision when all previous barriers have failed. Solution is reaching V3 in 2019 thanks to fast-time/real-time simulations and flight test validation.
During S2020-W2 VLD2, SURF-A/IA airborne platforms will be developed, certified, fitted on airline aircraft and exposed on revenue flights. The objective is to check the performance of the function in real environment, in particular the absence of nuisance alert. Participating ANSPs (DSNA, DFS, ANS-CR(B4), PANSA (B4)) and EUROCONTROL, who are convinced of the need for complementary aircraft safety net for airport operations, will conduct specific studies to ensure the interoperability with ATC procedures & ground safety nets. In addition, this trial will be the largest ground ADS-B IN trial worldwide, paving the way towards large deployment of SURF-A/IA or future ADS-B applications and standards.
Demonstration aims at being very large, including: 3 airlines or more,50 aircraft,12 months recording period,50.000 flights collected and 300 airports visited.


Net EU contribution
€ 190 691,71
31300 Toulouse

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Occitanie Midi-Pyrénées Haute-Garonne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 2 238 601,25

Participants (12)