ATC/ATE ground based systems alarm status management for Digital Contingency Towers.

Strategically providing a heightened level of redundancy, a Digital Contingency Tower provides a secondary means of operating air traffic services from another location on the airfield. PAMS allows for this with a contingency system capable of communicating directly with the airfield equipment (for example, CNS (Communications, Navigation and Surveillance) devices), but also with the PAMS Site System Server in the Digital Tower.

Recorded alarm event data is continuously synchronised between the two systems, ensuring that the Contingency Tower is permanently ready for use. An electronic heartbeat is transmitted between the systems and is used to provide a supervised, controlled changeover mechanism when the contingency system needs to be employed.


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Status Updates

Both the main Digital Tower system and the Contingency Tower system are configured to receive updates from the same airfield equipment, such as: 
  • VCS / EVCS
  • Recorders
  • ILS
  • DME
  • NDB
  • IRVR
  • Radios (UHF / VHF)
  • Air Compressors
  • Desk and Equipment UPS
  • NTP Time Server
Interfacing can be through a variety of means but when introducing a level of redundancy that can be bought online quickly, consideration is given to making more use of LAN based equipment.
  • Where simple status updates with switch to earth (or volt free contacts) are required, LAN based I/O gateway devices can be employed so that allow either systems can communicate with it
  • LAN based SNMP communications interfaces are the norm and will work with either the main or contingency systems, retrieving not only status information but also settings such as radio frequencies (VHF / UHF) or runway selection
  • The site NTP time server is usually LAN based and is used to synchronise all of the PAMS equipment clocks with the site
  • Where legacy equipment is in place, communications links can still be established (using for example OPC or Modbus protocols) but with serial devices, LAN to serial converters can be employed

Improved Visualisation

As with the main Digital Tower, a local display can be connected to the PAMS Contingency System Server and a KVM extender used if it needs to be made available in a different location. The PAMS Workstations, normally linked to the main Digital Tower can also be dual configured, so that they have an option of switching over to the contingency system in an emergency.
In addition to the usual system diagnostics, when a Contingency Tower is brought online, both the main Digital Tower and Contingency Tower are configured to be aware of each other.  This provides ATE and ATC visibility of the operational status of the other system.

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