ANC Talks with EUROCAE

The Air Navigation Commission began a new session of engaging discussions that bring industry and aviation stakeholders together to discuss different aspects of aviation - this is ANC Talks.


On Monday, September 21, the ANC Talk Series welcomed EUROCAE to speak on “Standards that ensure worldwide harmonization and global interoperability”. EUROCAE is an internationally recognized Standards Developing Organization (SDO) that deals exclusively with aviation standardization for both airborne and ground systems & equipment.

The organization was created in 1963 in Lucerne, Switzerland by a decision of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) as a European forum focusing on electronic equipment for air transport. A non-profit organization, it has a membership not limited to the European region, that is comprised of aviation stakeholders made up of regulators, manufacturers, services providers, users (such as airlines and airports) and academia. From the outset, EUROCAE has developed performance specifications and other documents exclusively dedicated to the aviation community. Their documents are widely referenced by ICAO as guidance material and by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as a means of compliance to European Technical Standard Orders (ETSOs) and other regulatory documents.

The President of the Air Navigation Commission, Nabil Naoumi,  opened the ANC Talks session with Christian Schleifer, Secretary General of EUROCAE; Anna von Groote, Technical Programme Director, and Sergiu Marzac, Technical Programme Manager, provided presentations.  Guests of the ANC Talks included Volker Arnsmeier from EASA, Lionel Wallace from Lilium,  Jörn Jakobi from the German Aerospace Center – DLR, Guillaume Roger, DGAC France STAC,  and Stefan Schwindt from GE Aviation.

The Secretary General of EUROCAE began the presentations by introducing his organization. It continued with the topics of Runway Weather Information System (RWIS) – the implementation of the ICAO Global Reporting Format (GRF); VTOL – standards complementing the regulatory framework; Remote and Virtual Tower –  innovation driven by the industry; Cyber Security – standards provide the “how to comply”;  the response to COVID-19 and ICAO – EUROCAE relation.

To achieve the desired global harmonization of aviation standards, EUROCAE works in close cooperation with RTCA, Inc. and SAE International. About 50% of the EUROCAE Working Groups (WG) work jointly with RTCA, and another 10% with SAE. The joint development of standards and the subsequent reference of those standards by EASA and the FAA as Acceptable Means of Compliance allows for a globally harmonized implementation of specific applications or systems based on the state of the art technology. This includes aircraft but also satellites.

EUROCAE documents are also produced in the context of the applicable ICAO standards and are coherent with existing ARINC specifications to ensure global interoperability. EUROCAE documents (ED) are developed by the WG composed of voluntary experts from the member organizations of EUROCAE and – in case of joint activities – RTCA and SAE. Before publication, EDs undergo a rigorous internal and external scrutiny process (Open Consultation) to ensure the high quality of the approved standards. Since its creation, EUROCAE has published more than 250 EDs.

EUROCAE governance is led by the Council composed of senior staff from Full Members of the Association who are elected by the annual General Assembly. A Technical Advisory Committee consisting of technical experts in various aviation domains advises the Council in technical decisions. The EUROCAE Secretariat, a collective term for the Secretary General, programme managers and administrative staff, carries out the day-to-day work of the organization.

Today they have more than 330 Members, 47 active Working Groups and more than 3300 experts. The input they receive includes, amongst others, regulators (national, The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)); international organizations European Centre for Transportation and Logistics (ECTL), The European Cockpit Association (ECA), International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), Civil Air Navigation Services a Organisation (CANSO); service providers; European Organisation for Astronomical (ESO); Other SDOs such as Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), manufacturers and research and development, The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR)   Collaborative Actions for Renovation of Air Traffic Systems (CARATS), NextGen and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The domains of EUROCAE activities include avionics, communication, navigation, surveillance, Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems, airports, the System Wide Information Management (SWIM), and power (lightning protection and high voltage), security, Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) and Meteorological (MET) (AIS/MET), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) (RPAS/VTOL) and GA and other miscellaneous (fuel cells, hybrid propulsion, space, ice detection, C-UAS and the next generation of aviation professionals

EUROCAE was established in 2015 to coordinate air traffic (ATM) standardization activities, essentially stemming from the European ATM Master Plan, in support of Single Sky implementation. The European UAS Standards Coordination Group (EUSCG) was established in 2017 to coordinate UAS-standardization activities standards linked to the European regulatory framework and UAS Roadmap; ECSCG: established in 2018 to coordinate the Cyber Security standardization activities supporting the regulatory framework. Others include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO),  and many others.

EUROCAE facilitates the sharing of work among the SDOs to: help to avoid the risks of overlapping developments and gaps; to monitor all relevant processes, resource availability and other related risks and issues; to provide a forum for managing specific issues and resolution of conflicts, and to provide advice to the EC and other organizations on standardization matters/issues. The goal is to cooperate, coordinate, and never duplicate.

The next presentation from EUROCAE was on “Runway Weather Information System (RWIS) – the implementation of the ICAO Global Reporting Format (GRF)”. Runway safety is an ICAO priority and runway contamination is a key factor for aircraft performance (take-off & landing distance and directional control).

The new Global Reporting Format (GRF) regulations have raised awareness and interest. The GRF was launched in May 2018 with all major stakeholders (airport operators, sensors & systems manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers, flight crews and CAAs) represented. Since May 2018, five plenary meetings and four subgroup meetings were held, the 6th plenary meeting will take place in November 2020. There has been increasing participation (especially from the sensors & systems manufacturers) and two sub-groups created to cover technological capabilities and airport needs, under the leadership of DGAC/STAC (France) and Fraport (Germany).

There has been coordination with other SDOs, from human inspections to automated assessments, including operational needs such as: contamination type within 15 categories, contamination depth with a 1-mm resolution, consistency with aircraft braking action, the spatial coverage, timely updates and reliability. Standards are much needed for STAC/EREMA/CSTB testing of five 2015 RoadWIS systems and better performance for new-generation RunwayWIS systems, according to the systems manufacturers. The most important are safety, compliance and asset management.

To define its scope: RWIS covers information systems, combining sensors, models and algorithms, and visualization components; that need to provide relevant information (including accuracy/confidence) for airport operators to assess their runways surface condition according to ICAO’s Global Reporting Format guidelines; at current time, and possibly for short-term prediction; to improve safety and/or airport operations (including non-winter operations).

There is a need for developing standards for terminology, airport-use cases, influencing factors, performance assessment processes, reference values, self-diagnosis capabilities and general design requirements (operating conditions, interoperability). There currently is common agreement on the main viewpoints and the first draft is expected by the end of 2020. Some challenges include: producing standards for not-yet-mature technologies; producing technological standards for human-based regulations; and standardizing performance assessment procedures.

The joint presentation by EASA and EUROCAE covered “VTOL- – standards complementing the regulatory framework”. VTOL is a new way of flying; EASA SC VTOL was issued in July 2019, based on CS23 and CS27, with specific requirements for VTO. With the objective-based certification requirements and accepted means of compliance for both the EASA Means of Compliance and the Industry standards.

It was concluded that to the mutual understanding and common success, timeliness, sustainable designs, commonalities in OPS and licensing, safe design solutions with efficient compliance demonstrations methods and for continued safety in operation and quick resolution of issues, cooperation between the Civil Aviation Authorities and the industry is essential.

The next presentation was on EUROCAE WG-100 “Remote and Virtual Tower”. The essential operational requirement from ICAO: the tower must permit the controller to survey those portions of the aerodrome and its vicinity over which he exercises control; the tower must be equipped so as to permit the controller rapid and reliable communications with aircraft with which he is concerned. The controller must be able to discriminate between aircraft and between aircraft and vehicles while they are on the same or different runways and/or taxiways.

ICAO ATMOPSP/WG/3 Proposal for PANS-ATM, Doc 4444 Visual observation shall be achieved through direct out of the window observation or through indirect observation utilizing a visual surveillance system.

The images below best describe the concept of EUROCAE’s “Remote Tower Optical System” with Detection & Recognition Requirements Performance (DRRP) at the forefront.

The presentation that followed covered the “Response to COVID-19”. The pandemic has had a severe impact on the aviation industry, with decreases in traffic resulting in lost jobs and shifting priorities. The support from the EUROCAE for the recovery includes continued standardization activities and an immediate shift to a fully virtual environment and specific standardization initiatives.

The technical means for identifying potential COVID-19 carriers among passengers includes a kickoff in September 2020 of Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for thermal camera systems (target date for publication is September 2021), to detect high body temperature and correct wearing of a mask. The aircraft cleaning kickoff was 20 August 2020, and the Guidance on Aircraft Cleaning, a collaboration with RTCA SC-241and Chemical and non-chemical cleaning methods and procedures, has a target date for publication in December 2020.

The next presentation was on “Cyber Security”. Aeronautical systems security is the focus primarily on information security for aviation air and ground safety, but it has been expanded to other interfacing areas of relevance such as supply chain and business operations. There are 230 participants in this Working Group with stakeholders from 10 countries and several European/international organizations. There are many published documents and training courses available.

The Memorandum of Understanding between ICAO – EUROCAE in 2015 that confirmed recognition of EUROCAE, RTCA, SAE and ARINC as international organizations, was updated and signed in December 2017 during the GANIS/SANIS Symposium to include the exchange of information and exchange of/free access to published documentation.

Currently, there are over 60 references to EDs in ICAO provisions. Moving forward, EUROCAE is looking to identify synergies with ICAO to map work programmes and collaboration initiatives through Short Range Transport (SRT), and Regional collaboration through EUR/NAT and APAC.