The institutional organisation of the validation of ATM (Air Traffic Management) at the European level can be regarded as embryonic. Until very recently, all European countries were completely autonomous as regards the specification and definition of an ATM system, only following the standards and recommendations prescribed by Eurocontrol. A process of harmonisation has begun, with several initiatives being taken by the EC, in co-ordination with Eurocontrol and involving specialised organisations, users and industrial associations. These actors will undertake the validation process, which consists of several activities that can be classified into three different levels: regulatory (regulations, standards, legal framework, etc.), management (management, monitoring, etc.), and performance (preparation, design, reporting, etc.).
The objective of the study was to identify existing test methods that must be used for the validation and verification of the future European ATM System and to highlight test methods that are lacking.
CASCADE aimed to identify available facilities that comply with the ATM validation requirements and to provide recommendations to complete the set of facilities. The focus was on solutions that could be achieved using available knowledge, present studies and developments, as opposed to solutions requiring further research.
The main outputs from CASCADE were:
- a methodology for describing existing means of validation, and for identifying and classifying needs for validation methods;
- a catalogue of available facilities, described in terms of the country, company, name, address, main characteristics, category (simulator, test bench, etc.), flexibility, test objectives, life cycle step and ATM part;
- a database including the surveyed facilities and references to other facilities;
- a description of validation tools existing or under development;
- the definition of needs for validation facilities;
- a Cross-Mapping Tool (CMT) and the related databases in terms of needs and facilities;
- the definition of system-level validation facilities currently missing;
- recommendations related to the organisation of validation, the policy for resources, the activities to be undertaken, standardisation and the overall validation platform.
Many actors are interested in an overall, consistent European ATM System (EATMS) and its validation process. The process to achieve a common EATMS also requires a common process for ensuring quality. The harmonisation of validation means, and their operation, will require the standardisation of some elements in order to reduce costs, increase reliability and optimise investments. These benefits can be achieved by using as a starting point all currently available means in the most efficient way.
Due to the differences between actors and their interests, and the natural complexity of EATMS, the EC must arbitrate among the various stakeholders to lead them toward a common goal. This requires an agreed European policy for industrial purposes.
The harmonisation initiated by the European Civil Aviation Conference and co-ordinated by Eurocontrol, along with the EC RTD projects in this area, needs to address the formation of a European platform for EATMS validation, as a final target for convergence. This platform should address end-to-end system validation in all phases of the system life cycle, ranging from the capture and analysis of requirements, to overall integration and testing in real conditions for operational evaluation by the user.
When standards are available, certification issues could also be addressed. CASCADE recommends that a Standardisation and Certification Committee should be created within the EC.