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Solutions. Air Traffic Control

There are thousands of aircrafts operating around the globe every hour. Only in USA at any given moment there are about 5, 000 aircrafts in the skies. It is evident that performing all these activities requires usage of up-to-date and high-precision equipment which principal component is the air traffic control radar system. Radar recording systems record and display the incoming data for the air traffic control staff in an effective format. There is a need to ensure that the information received from radar services is recorded and retained. Incidents that occur in the immediate vicinity of an airport are unlikely to be recorded unless the airport has installed a radar recorder. Replay of data recorded using radar recording systems can provide a complete and accurate representation of the surveillance information available to the air traffic controller at the time of the incident under investigation.

Air traffic controlAir traffic control systems

Each aircraft is handled by an air traffic control facility. Aircraft movements from the gates to takeoff runways, through airspace divisions and from landing runways to the gates are continually monitored and coordinated by specially trained staff – the air traffic controllers. Controllers work either in airport control tower or in the facilities of the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) which is nearest to the airport. The controllers use multiple radar systems and methods to detect and monitor aircrafts. Just imagine that when you see a listed flight on an airport monitor, there are two more showed up on the controller screens. It would take more than 7, 000 monitors to show all the flights handled by air traffic control staff daily. The air traffic control radar systems comprise airport surface detection radar, terminal area radar, and long range radar capable of seeing aircraft within 200 nautical miles.

radar recordingSurface radar systems

The Airfield Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) monitors the movement of aircraft and airport surface vehicles at high activity airports. This equipment is essentially useful during the bad weather periods (fog, rain) when the visibility is very low. It successfully supplements visual information. Although ASDE features a video display to ensure controllers will prevent collisions on runways in due time, it seems to be insufficient. An Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) comes onstream providing controllers with aural and visual alerts to potential collisions on the runway.

air traffic controlTerminal area radars

TRACON radar systems are used for approach/departure and en route control and provide information about the aircraft type, altitude, speed and position. This allows Air Traffic Control centers to collect unique data about the tracked target. TRACON radar systems usually have two principal components clearly seen on the antenna and identified by their specific shapes. Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) is a ladder shaped component on the radar’s top. Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) is a half-circle shaped component on the radar’s bottom.

Recording equipment

Radar recorders available on market are mostly designed for traffic radars. NavSim radar recorder converts a video signal from only one source and is unlikely to be used on ATC equipment. Solutions available to capture several video sources usually do not feature LAN/Internet connection and VGA signal support (Skyquest recorders by Curtiss-Wright, Buffalo PC-MV72DX/U2 solution, Euresys Picolo and Videum Quattro PCI boards). VGA Grid by Epiphan Systems can monitor up to 256 VGA sources in real time. With this highly configurable device and VGA Concentrator connected to Ethernet you can view the output of all VGA sources on one screen, zoom in any of the input signals, record and archive the VGA output. The VGA Concentrator provides remote access to any of up to 256 VGA sources and acts as a server.

air traffic control

Effective solution for radar recording

VGA Grid using Epiphan Systems’ proprietary pre-compression technology is an ideal solution for monitoring sources with little change between frames, that is to say radar screens and provides extremely high capture and transmission rates. Each VGA source is connected to a LAN or Internet by a separate VGA Grid device. The analog VGA signal is digitized, compressed and then sent over Ethernet. VGA Grid ensures that all VGA signals are viewed on one screen or individually. VGA Grid gives you an affordable way to bring together information from hundreds of VGA sources, record it and transfer over the Internet/LAN. This unique solution will capture each and every pixel of the original frame ensuring that all pieces of an overall picture composed from multiple sources will be viewed at any destination you need.

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This case study is also available in the following languages:

Contrôle du trafic aérien
Управление воздушным движением
Control de tráfico aéreo


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