ARL News01 Aug 2006
Airways New Zealand (Airways) were in the market for over a year looking for a replacement air traffic control simulator. After an extensive world wide search including some of the world’s major aeronautical companies, they chose to engage ARL to develop a solution that not only met their needs but would be marketed by Airways to providers of air traffic control services. Both parties set up a joint development group to work through every detail of the design specification prior to eventual sign off. For Airways this was an opportunity for technical and design input from the ground up. For ARL it was an opportunity to work with domain experts in order to design a simulator that would be able to compete in a highly competitive international market place.
Developing the Total Control software package was one of the most ambitious development programmes yet undertaken by the developers at ARL. The resultant fully photo-realistic 3D Air Traffic Control Simulator has been deployed at the Airways New Zealand training facility in Christchurch and is currently used for training the next intake of student controllers. ‘Full world’ modeling of airspace and jurisdictions in which aircraft operate allows simultaneous instruction of many students across multiple suites, encompassing many aspects of air traffic management. Total Control can be deployed simultaneously to both full scale tower replicas and computer based training environments, allowing different suite combinations to be dynamically deployed as required on a per exercise basis.
An extremely high degree of visual realism, including photorealistic renderings of airfields, aircraft and weather conditions (down to rain splashes on the Control Tower windows) has been developed. On delivery, Total Control included 10 New Zealand towers and 33 general aviation, commercial and military aircraft types in appropriate liveries. Weather conditions are specified by the user and some 13 cloud types can be arranged in any combination. The Equipment panels, including lighting and communications, are emulated in software as individual modules and deployed to computers fitted with touch-screens. This means that when the system is switched from one airfield to another the entire control tower set up changes to match the actual environment that the Air Traffic Controllers would be working in. Support systems, including Skyline (RADAR) and MetDisplay (Meteorological information), are also emulated to create a much more realistic training environment.