SNAPpy Action in Norway – The Southern Norway Airspace Project
… to address present and future challenges regarding capacity, safety, environment and effectiveness. SNAP will provide a new airspace organisation, with associated working methods, that should increase safety levels, help to meet expected demand up until the year 2030 and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
SNAP introduces a Point Merge System, to address present and future challenges regarding capacity, safety, environmental effectiveness. The SNAP airspace, consists of Stavanger ATCC and Bodø ATCC sectors South and part of Central, including the underlying airspace and 16 regional airports. It affects a large proportion of offshore helicopter operations in Norway.
Point Merge is designed to work in high traffic loads without radar vectoring. It uses a Precision-Area Navigation (P-RNAV) route structure. This contains ‘merge points’ and pre-defined ‘sequencing legs’ equidistant from those points. The sequencing is achieved with a ‘direct-to’ instruction to the merge point for a determined time. The legs are only used when it is necessary delay aircraft (in what is called ‘path stretching’). The legs are thus a buffer to provide a delay absorption capacity.
Eurocontrol describe the benefits of a Point Merge System as:
- simplification of controller tasks, reduction of communications and workload;
- better pilot situational awareness;
- more orderly flows of traffic with a better view of arrival sequences;
- improved containment of flown trajectories after the merge point;
- better trajectory prediction, allowing for improved flight efficiency;
- standardisation of operations and better airspace management.
The SNAP airspace is adjacent to Oslo area where its sister concept, the Oslo Advanced Sectorisation and Automation Project (ASAP), was implemented in April 2011. This means Norway is the first nation to have two Point Merge projects implemented.
SNAP will be discussed at a Point Merge Conference in Oslo 3-4 March 2015.
Aerossurance has extensive experience of aviation safety and offshore helicopter matter. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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