In 2004 when we accepted a challenge to build an air traffic control automation system to be implemented in the Polonia International Airport, Medan, Indonesia. The system—trademarked as Ganesha Avionics—consists of Radar Interface (called “Ethernity”), Radar Data Processor, Flight Data Processor, Human-Machine Interface, Recording & Playback System, and Monitoring & Control System.
We always aspire to improve our products, both in quality of existing products and to develop other systems that provide support for air traffic management. In 2012 we deployed Ganesha Avionics in Supadio International Airport, Pontianak, Indonesia, and expanded our line of products to include Electronic Flight Progress Strip and added integration with ADS-B data source. The experiences and knowledge we learned have also attracted air navigation bodies, both local and foreign, to seek our experts’ consultation in procuring systems that we cannot develop by ourselves yet.
Ethernity is an embedded system that converts radar data in certain format into another and broadcasts the converted data to a local area network. The input usually comes through serial ports either directly from radar unit or from radar processor. Conversions are done to make sure the data are ready to be processed by our own Radar Data Processor, or any third party systems that accepts the standardized format.
An Ethernity unit can take up to four data sources (be it radars, ADS-B receivers, or external radar processing units) as input. Supported formats include EV-760, PR-800, and Asterix (categories 021, 048, and 062).
Radar Data Processor (RDP)
The RDP takes objects detected by a radar and analyzes the consecutive inputs to determine which objects are actual aircrafts and which objects are false (“ghosts”, which occasionally appear in bad weather). Furthermore, the analysis also makes it possible for the system to predict the position of an aircraft forward in time.
The RDP also has safety features embedded called the Safety Net, that includes Aircraft Conflict prediction, Minimum Safe Altitude calculation, and Area Intrusion detection. The system will warn the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) through visual cues (red, blinking text) and audio alert if there is a potential of safety risk. The Aircraft Conflict prediction warns the ATC if an aircraft is too close (vertically or laterally) or on a collision course with another one. The Minimum Safe Altitude calculation considers the contour of the Earth and buildings to warn if an aircraft is flying too low. The Area Intrusion detection prevents an aircraft to enter a restricted airspace such as military training area.
The RDP recognizes Asterix format and therefore can be fed by Ethernity units, ADS-B receivers, or directly from modern MSSR units that uses the same Asterix format.
Flight Data Processor (FDP)
From the other side of air navigation, the FDP takes and manages Flight Plans issued by airlines that contain details about flight number, origin and destination of the flight, the route it is going to take, et cetera. The Flight Plans are parsed and maintained in a simple local database, ready to be correlated with actual flights detected by the radar.
The FDP supports New Flight Plan format and Repetitive Flight Plan. Operators—either ATC’s or Briefing Officers, can also add or edit Flight Plans according to the dynamics of the daily operation.
Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
The feature-packed HMI is what the ATC’s interact with. It takes input from both FDP and RDP and correlates Flight Plans with the actual situation of the airspace. Each aircraft’s position, altitude, velocity, and heading are shown visually in the Situation Display where the ATC can monitor and use to help make decisions such as which aircraft is to be allowed landing first.
Different ATC’s have different preferences as to what map layers should be displayed on the Situation Display. Commonly, for, example they don’t really need city borders to be displayed; they are more interested in aerial borders than land ones. That’s why we provide reasonable defaults, but also allow each ATC to customize what layers to be displayed in their monitor, and even to add their own private layers with the help with a simple, built-in map editor.
The HMI uses off-the-shelf components and no specialized hardware, and can be paired with any other system that provides surveillance data in Asterix format.
Recording & Playback System (RPS)
As a critical system, it is important that activities within the system are recorded and available for playback. Such recording can be used for investigations in the case of incidents. The RPS records radar data as they were spread through the network, the Situation Display as presented by the HMI, and the conversations between ATC and pilots via radio.
Monitoring & Control System (MCS)
Supervisors and system technicians can use the MCS to monitor every single subsystem in one deploy area. Each components of the system periodically announce their status to the network for the MCS to grab and display on screen. Each status messages are color-coded to help technicians know if any subsystem needs their attention, at a glance. System reboot, switchover, and other kinds of control are also available from MCS.