Air traffic

ANSL simulator used at Cambridge City Airport to train air traffic controllers

Marshall Aerospace is working with Air Navigation Solutions Limited (ANSL) to provide a comprehensive package of air traffic management support, centered around a simulator-based training solution, for air traffic control officers at the airport of Cambridge City.

Air Traffic Control Simulator supplied by ANSL and installed at Cambridge City Airport for the provision of training and support

The full-capacity ANSL air traffic control simulator is now operational and an ANSL instructor has joined the airport team on secondment to lead the delivery of the training, which lasts at least six months per person.

The contract also involves ANSL providing Marshall Aerospace with an air traffic services manager on an interim basis, as well as broader compliance services in support of the project.

ANSL ATC Operations Specialist Vicky Bhogal-Hunt will act as the Acting Air Traffic Services Manager for Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge City Airport for the next few months. This will allow the airport team to focus fully on safe and compliant Covid training and recovery.

ANSL, which has its UK base on Control Tower Road at Gatwick Airport, is an £18million company with 170 employees that provides air traffic control and engineering services in some of the busiest and most complex airports in the world. Its parent company is DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the national air navigation service provider (ANSP) in Germany.

Kevan Craske, Airport Manager of Cambridge City Airport
Kevan Craske, Airport Manager of Cambridge City Airport

Providing this essential simulator training will allow 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 the next logical step in expanding Cambridge City Airport’s offering.

“The flexibility of their solutions and the breadth of their expertise will allow us to accelerate our air traffic control officer training program and, with it, the hours of operation and capacity at our airport. The responsiveness and professionalism demonstrated by ANSL made working with them an obvious choice.

The simulator is capable of creating a wide range of operational challenges, says Paul Diestelkamp, ​​business development and solutions manager at ANSL.

“We started talking to Marshall in the last quarter of 2021 to discuss the requirements,” he told the Cambridge Independent. “It is not a standard solution, it is indeed tailor-made, the simulator being a training tool and the air supervisory authority to be validated at the end of the training.

One of ANSL's simulators used for training and development work, ranging from single station simulations to complex operations simulations with multiple stations
One of ANSL’s simulators used for training and development work, ranging from single station simulations to complex operations simulations with multiple stations

“Conventionally, you first become an air traffic controller and then you have to train at the specific airport you work for.

“So the ANSL, as part of on-the-job training in Cambridge, is setting up an experienced trainer to sit next to the trainees, which will take between six and 12 months and involve multiple shifts. – it is continuous controls and a formal validation committee [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 example if it is busy. We are therefore accelerating and supporting training at the airport.

The ideal time to take this training is now because “it allows them to practice handling different levels of simulated air traffic while real air traffic remains low”.

Paul concluded: “We are delighted to be working with Marshall Aerospace and Cambridge City Airport to provide this comprehensive, bespoke solution. This new partnership demonstrates the flexible range of solutions we can offer regional airports to help them achieve their business objectives.