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The 12th annual ADB Safegate AGL Seminar was  held in Birmingham, England. The program included presentations, updates on innovations from ADB Safegate, and networking opportunities for the delegates from all over Europe. As this was the first time ADB Safegate had held the seminar together, delegates were also updated on the latest news from CEO, Christian Onselaere.  Former ATCO and Eurocontrol advisor, Bengt Collin, presented on airfield lighting from an ATC perspective. He emphasized the importance of getting controllers on board with a project early on.

The presentations included the importance of tower systems integrating with AGL with Konrad Koeck from ADB Safegate, Khem Basel from the Defence Ministry speaking about AGL series circuits, Mike Curry and Nick Biggar from Manchester Airport discussing their runway centreline LEDs 5 years on, and Bernard Willer presenting intelligent airside maintenance solutions.

Former ATCO and Eurocontrol advisor, Bengt Collin, presented on airfield lighting from an ATC perspective. He emphasised the importance of ATC being involved from the beginning and working together, “It is important to have the users (ATC) commitment from day one. To always have the air traffic controllers in the process is extremely important, it saves time and money.”
He pointed out that engineers tend to be passionate about projects from a technical point of view, but that actually, controllers are often less interested in the technology that people believe. Rather, Bengt pointed out, controllers tend to be pragmatic people who like to find the solutions. “This is reflected in the controller recruitment process,” he says. “We are recruited to make decisions – quick decisions and the correct decisions.”

During the presentation Bengt gave the delegates insight into how to approach ATC with more success. “Many do not know how to talk to air traffic controllers. How a controller actually thinks and what type of person a controller actually is.”  He notes that controllers respond more to practical examples and dynamic presentations rather than documents of notes and technical detail. “Controllers are not specialists. We don’t want to know how the radar works, just that it does and it’s working correctly.”

He emphasized the importance of getting controllers on board with a project. “When you’re trying to implement new systems,” Bengt says, “you have to remember that the controllers like to be in control. Controllers don’t want systems to take over and do the job for them. You should work together with the controllers when you develop solutions for the tower that the controllers are going to use because it will save you time and money.”

“How should the HMI be designed? For example on/off of the stop bars, control of high-intensity light and not at least Follow the Greens. If it’s not correct the result may be that there will be a reluctance to use the stop bars.”  He pointed out that the risk for not getting controllers involved is that the new technology will be a failure, and mean the project needs to be started again or adapted after the fact. “But if you get them on board, they will support you and you will get the best possible solution.”

The ADB Safegate AGL Seminar is held annually in the U.K. If you’re interested in attending next years’ event, or staying informed of upcoming events with ADB Safegate, sign-up for the monthly newsletter or contact your local office for more information.

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