Unlock the secrets of air traffic control with Chelton's cutting-edge RDSControl technology, paving the way for safer skies and streamlined aviation.

In this exclusive interview, we had the privilege of speaking with two ATC experts from Chelton, ATC Manager Joe Humphrey and Chief Engineer Dr. Neil Tisdale, to dive deeper into the innovative features and benefits of RDS Control. Join us as we explore the advanced technology that is revolutionising air traffic control, and discover the enthusiastic reception this product has received from the aviation community.


Air Traffic Management Systems - radar display systems for air traffic control
What is RDSControl?

Joe Humphrey: RDSControl is one of our several Air Traffic Management Systems, an Advanced Radar Display System.

While it shares some similarities with our other air traffic systems there are several key differences that set it apart.

One difference is that RDSControl is a highly integrated system that combines several functionalities in a single platform, including radar data processing and safety monitoring.

This integrated approach allows RDSControl to provide a more holistic solution for air traffic control needs, rather than relying on separate systems for different functionalities.

What was the development journey of RDSControl?

Joe Humphrey: The development of RDSControl was a collaborative effort involving experts in air traffic management, software development, and radio communication systems.

The development of RDSControl was driven by a need for more efficient and reliable communication between air traffic controllers and pilots. The goal was to create a system that would improve situational awareness, reduce workload, and enhance safety in air traffic management.

Chelton's team of experts conducted extensive research and development to create RDSControl. This involved designing and testing a range of software and hardware components, including radio communication systems, displays, and user interfaces.

Once the initial design of RDSControl was complete, Chelton conducted very extensive testing and validation to ensure that the system met the requirements of air traffic management.

Before RDSControl could be implemented in air traffic management systems, it had to be certified by regulatory authorities such as the CAA and MAA in the UK and Euro control in Europe. Chelton worked closely with these authorities to ensure that RDSControl met all necessary requirements and standards.

After successful certification, RDSControl was deployed in air traffic management systems around the world. Chelton continues to provide ongoing support and updates to ensure that the system remains effective and up-to-date.

The journey of creating RDSControl involved extensive research, development, testing, and collaboration with experts in air traffic management. 

What challenges does the industry face producing ATM equipment?

Joe Humphrey: A notable industrial development is the shift to digital displays, which means that more information is easily available for controllers to monitor, with higher resolution, on larger screens.

This posed a challenge for Chelton as our previous radar display system, RDS1600, became outdated, no longer fulfilling modern digital requirements, necessitating an upgrade.

This is when we introduced RDSControl, our advanced radar display system. RDSControl is considered more modern compared to previous air traffic control systems due to several reasons.  RDSControl is a highly integrated system that offers advanced automation, which allows air traffic controllers to manage air traffic more effectively and efficiently.

It uses modern hardware and software technology, including digital signal processing and real-time data processing, to enhance system performance and reliability.

Overall, RDSControl is a more modern air traffic control system that offers advanced features and technologies to enhance air traffic control operations and improve overall safety.

What safety measures does RDSControl offer?

Dr Neil Tisdale: Chelton's RDSControl provides several safety measures for air traffic controllers to ensure efficient and safe air traffic management. Some of the key safety measures provided by RDSControl include:

Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (MSAW): This safety net provides a warning when flights are in proximity to the ground, allowing the controller to warn pilots.

Collision Avoidance: RDSControl has built-in collision avoidance features that allow air traffic controllers to avoid potential collisions between aircraft. It is customizable to cope with mountains, hills and masts.

Approach Path Monitoring (APM): This safety net provides a warning when a flight is landing at an airport is outside the customizable limits of approach. It also gives the controller a vertical view of the approach.

Area Proximity Warning (APW): This safety net provides a warning when a flight is about to enter some area configured as producing this alert. This may be the airspace around another airport, military facilities, wind farm or a nuclear facility.

Short Term Conflict Alert (STCA): RDSControl has built-in collision avoidance features that allow air traffic controllers to avoid potential collisions between aircraft. The system provides alerts and warnings to the controller when two aircraft are on a collision course, allowing them to take corrective action.

Direction Finder (DF): RDSControl has built-in direction finding that allows up to four different frequencies to be displayed. When a transmission is received on frequency a coloured line is drawn on the screen in the direction of the transmission.

Flight Data Processing (FDP): RDSControl has built-in flight data processing allowing it to receive flight and all updates to them. These flight can then be displayed in a window and will assist in populating the track labels when correlation takes place.

Weather Monitoring: The system also provides real-time weather updates, allowing controllers to monitor weather patterns and potential hazards such as storms or turbulence. This feature helps controllers to make informed decisions, rerouting aircraft to avoid severe weather conditions.

Advanced Radar Display: RDSControl's Advanced Radar Display System provides air traffic controllers with a comprehensive view of the airspace they are managing. This enables controllers to monitor and manage multiple aircraft simultaneously using colour and other track information, ensuring that all aircraft are flying safely and efficiently.

RDSControl provides a range of safety measures that enable air traffic controllers to manage aircraft safely and efficiently. These measures help to prevent accidents, avoid potential collisions, monitor weather conditions, and provide clear communication with pilots.

How can a system like RDSControl affect the job for the Air Traffic Controller?

Dr Neil Tisdale: Because controllers have a tremendous amount of responsibility while on duty and must make innumerable real-time decisions on a daily basis, the ATC profession is consistently recognized as one of the most mentally challenging careers and can be notoriously stressful.

With RDSControl, the pilot or crew can manage all communication devices from a single control unit, simplifying the communication process and reducing the workload for the crew. This can allow the crew to focus more on flying the aircraft and making critical decisions, which can ultimately lead to a safer and more efficient operation.

RDSControl can help streamline communication and improve safety in the aviation industry, benefiting both the crew and ATCs responsible for managing air traffic.

The system has a user-friendly interface that provides a clear and comprehensive view of all the aircraft being managed, their current status, and any active connections or communications. This makes it easy for controllers to quickly assess the situation and make informed decisions.

RDSControl's Flight Data Planning System simplifies the process of managing flight data by providing a platform for controllers to plan and manage flight data in a centralized location. This simplifies the task of managing flight plans and helps ensure that all data is up to date.

How will airports and their ATC benefit from RDSControl?

Joe Humphrey: Customers can benefit from RDSControl in several ways. Some of the key benefits include:

By improving communication, enhancing situational awareness, and reducing workload, RDSControl can contribute to a safer aviation system overall, reducing the risk of accidents and incidents.

With RDSControl, pilots and controllers can have a better understanding of the airspace and the position and intentions of other aircraft, which can help to avoid conflicts and collisions.

RDSControl allows for more streamlined communication and coordination between pilots and controllers, which can lead to more efficient flight operations, reduced delays, and improved utilization of airspace.

By automating certain communication processes and providing more accurate and timely information, RDSControl can help to reduce the workload of air traffic controllers and pilots, allowing them to focus on other important tasks.

RDSControl enables efficient and reliable communication between air traffic controllers and pilots, reducing the potential for miscommunication and misunderstandings. This can help to increase safety and efficiency in air traffic management.

RDSControl can provide a number of benefits to customers, helping to improve safety, efficiency, and the overall experience of air travel.

What does the future hold for Air Traffic Management?

Dr Neil Tisdale: The future of RDSControl looks promising as new technologies are being developed to further enhance the system's capabilities. Some potential developments that could impact the future of RDSControl include:

RDSControl could be integrated with other aviation systems to provide a comprehensive solution for communication and surveillance.

The use of AI and machine learning could further improve the efficiency and safety of RDSControl by automating certain communication processes and detecting patterns and anomalies that could indicate potential safety risks.

The future of RDSControl looks promising, and advancements in technology and the aviation industry will continue to shape its evolution. These developments will likely further enhance its capabilities, making it an even more essential component of safe and efficient air traffic management.

Joe Humphrey

ATC Manager

Dr. Neil Tisdale

Chief Engineer

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