DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GMBH, EUROCONTROL MUAC, Hungarocontrol and NASA AMES Research Centre announced as the 2022 Maverick Awards winners
A highlight of World ATM Congress was the announcement of the winners of the 2022 Maverick Awards. The Awards recognise outstanding achievements in four categories of air traffic management (ATM): Innovation, in which the winner was DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH; for the Collaboration Award, EUROCONTROL MUAC; the winner of Resiliency Award was HungaroControl; and the Sustainability Award went to NASA Ames Research Centre.
“We are thrilled to once again announce the Maverick Awards finalists for the past year,” said ATCA President and CEO Brian R. Bruckbauer. “Our award will recognise collaboration, innovation, and sustainability. New this year, our resiliency award recognises individuals or organisations demonstrating the ability to respond and adapt quickly to a crisis, showing manoeuvrability and critical forward-thinking, or those committed to organisational and industry recovery post-pandemic.”
“We were pleased to receive so many incredible submissions in this second pandemic year. They are a testament to how important our work is to safety, efficiency, and innovation in ATM,” said CANSO Director General Simon Hocquard. “My congratulations to all those who submitted, especially those that made the shortlist. We look forward to honouring your achievements and celebrating our success!”
The Collaboration Award recognises the importance of effective relationships and partnerships within/across disciplines and sectors to achieve a shared goal. This year’s winner is DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH for strong and flexible collaboration in times of crisis – resilience in the context of the Ukrainian war. The need arose for NATO partners to conduct extensive military flight operations through German airspace. Outstanding collaboration brought up a flexible solution, which allowed for minimum impact on civil air traffic flows. Because of the established civil-military integration in Germany at DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC), the necessary expertise, agreements and procedures were available to accommodate designated military areas, to be controlled by the German military. The required processes for disguised military flight operations and, at the same time, normal civil flight operations could be activated almost instantly; it was established on an ad hoc basis. In just one day, a corridor solution was ready and implemented due to the close cooperation between DFS, the German ministries of defence and transport, the Air and Space Operations Centre of the German Forces and MUAC.
The Innovation Award recognises new ideas, technologies, and concepts that challenge current ATM norms with the potential to significantly advance performance, operations, or capabilities. This year’s winner is EUROCONTROL MUAC for successfully introducing AI algorithms in the Integrated Flow Management Position at MUAC. Machine learning was used to reduce these uncertainties by extracting hidden patterns in historical data. This allowed for more accurate sector workload predictions and more optimal flow measures. Between 11 February 2022 and 6 April 2022, the improved prediction has reduced missed sector crossing by 40% resulting in a 2% increase of the sector sequence identification for an on-average negligible false crossing addition/insertion.
The Resiliency Award recognises individuals or organisations demonstrating the ability to respond and adapt quickly to a crisis, showing manoeuvrability and critical forward-thinking,
or those committed to organisational and industry recovery post-pandemic. This year’s winner is HungaroControl for quickly adapting during the COVID-19 crisis. The tower traffic controllers were split into three teams that were physically separated into 12-hour shifts. The dayshift worked remotely from a digital contingency centre at HungaroControl’s head-office building. The night shift worked from the physical tower at Budapest airport. Meanwhile, the third team remained at home on standby, ready to take over if needed. At both locations, ATCOs used Indra’s InNOVA system for ground surveillance and air traffic management, ensuring all relevant information was available at both sites. At the contingency centre, the heads-down display was combined with a heads-up video wall. By using digital remote technologies, HungaroControl maintained a normal service level during the pandemic, while separating ATCO staff safely and efficiently.
The Sustainability Award recognises leaders, initiatives, and organisations working towards reducing aviation’s impact on the environment and making significant contributions to improving the environmental footprint of aviation through ATM. This year’s winner is NASA Ames Research Centre. NASA’s Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) demonstration was a four-year (Sep 2017 – Sep 2021) field demonstration of Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) technologies designed to improve the predictability and efficiency of surface and departure operations. The FAA is in the process of implementing TFDM at 89 airports, of which 27 will have the advanced surface departure metering and overhead stream insertion capabilities demonstrated by ATD-2. ATD-2 validated the TFDM concept, provided knowledge and technology to the FAA and Industry, and demonstrated benefits that exceeded FAA projections for TFDM. During the four-year demonstration at CLT, ATD-2 saved more than 1.1 million gallons of fuel and 11,600 tons of CO2. The FAA projects annual CO2 savings of 75,000 tonnes when TFDM is fully implemented.