ANSL simulator in use at Cambridge City Airport to train air traffic controllers
Marshall Aerospace is working with Air Navigation Solutions Limited (ANSL) to provide a comprehensive air traffic management support package, centred on a simulator-based training solution, for air traffic control officers at Cambridge City Airport.
The full-capability ANSL air traffic control simulator is now up and running, and an ANSL instructor has joined the airport team on secondment to lead delivery of the training, which takes at least six months per person.
The contract also involves ANSL providing Marshall Aerospace with a manager of air traffic services on an interim basis, along with wider compliance services in support of the project.
ANSL’s ATC operations specialist, Vicky Bhogal-Hunt, will act as the interim air traffic services manager for Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge City Airport for the coming months. This will enable the airport team to fully focus on training and safe and compliant Covid recovery.
ANSL, which has its UK base at Gatwick Airport’s Control Tower Road, is an £18m turnover company with 170 staff which delivers air traffic control and engineering services at some of the world’s busiest and most complex airports. Its parent company is DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the National Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP) in Germany.
Providing this essential simulator training will enable the airport to continue to develop the skills of its trainee air traffic control officers in the current low-traffic environment as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kevan Craske, director of Cambridge City Airport, said: “Partnering with ANSL was a logical next step in widening Cambridge City Airport’s offering.
“The flexibility of their solutions and breadth of their expertise will enable us to accelerate our air traffic control officer training programme and, with it, the operating hours and capabilities of our airport. The responsiveness and professionalism demonstrated by ANSL made working with them the obvious choice.”
The simulator is capable of creating a wide range of operational challenges, says Paul Diestelkamp, head of business development & solutions at ANSL.
“We started talking to Marshall in the last quarter of 2021 to discuss the requirements,” he told the Cambridge Independent. “It’s not a standard solution, it’s effectively tailored, with the simulator a tool for training and the air traffic regulator to approve at the end of the training.
“Conventionally, you become an air traffic controller first and then you need to train at the specific airport you work for.
“So ANSL, as part of on-the-job training in Cambridge, puts in an experienced trainer to sit next to the trainees, that will take between six and 12 months and involve several working positions – it’s continuous checks and a formal validation board [the Civil Aviation Authority] at the end of it.
“Using the simulator you can create any type of weather, or any emergency situation, you can change the lighting [for night conditions], and have different types of traffic for instance if it’s busy. So we’re expediting and supporting training at the airport.”
The ideal time to be doing this training is now because “it allows them to practice managing different simulated levels of air traffic while actual air traffic remains low”.
Paul concluded: “We’re delighted to be working with Marshall Aerospace and Cambridge City Airport to provide this comprehensive and tailored solution. This new partnership demonstrates the flexible range of solutions we can offer to regional airports to help them achieve their commercial goals.”