Julian Moxon/PARIS


EUROCONTROL IS TO recommend mandatory introduction to Europe of an aircraft collision-avoidance system from the 2000, after a 26 June meeting of its committee of management.

The move had been expected, and is supported by the European Joint Airworthiness Authorities and the European Civil Aircraft Conference (the European arm of the International Civil Aviation Organisation). The TCAS 2 traffic collision-avoidance system is already obligatory in the USA on aircraft of more than 30 seats.

The European ruling takes the initiative a stage further, calling for introduction in two stages. The first involves all turbine-powered fixed-wing aircraft of more than 30 seats and with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of more than 15,000kg. The second, applicable from 2005, covers aircraft with more than 19 seats, and with an MTOW of more than 5,700kg. Besides dealing with the question of smaller types, this also brings in cargo aircraft, which are not covered under US rules.

Eurocontrol says that the system has been accepted only as a "last-resort" component of the future air-traffic-management system now under development. The organisation has already introduced the initial elements of its central flow-management unit (CFMU), providing its own "short-term conflict-alert" system.

"The situation in Europe is completely different to that in the USA," says one source, "where 80% of air movements are general aviation and take place in uncontrolled airspace, whereas, in Europe, 80% involve transport aircraft in controlled airspace."

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been testing the TCAS II for several months, and has studied pilot reports of the system in use in Europe (where it is already required for aircraft flying to the USA). "We have a database of incidents in which TCAS II played a role," it says, "and we're happy that it provides enhanced safety."

British Airways is not waiting for a European decision. It is buying the TCAS 2 for fleet-wide installation on about 300 aircraft. Within the last few weeks, the three US TCAS 2 manufacturers - AlliedSignal, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins - submitted their bids, and BA is evaluating the proposals.

Tom Mullinix, AlliedSignal's TCAS programme manager, says: "This is very good news for AlliedSignal. The indication that Europe is prepared to require TCAS 2 has made all our efforts worthwhile. I believe that other areas of the world will soon follow Europe's apparent lead."o

The TCAS 2, may soon be required to be flown in China's airspace. The CAAC [SPELL OUT] is known to favour TCAS 2 implementation, and early in 1994 it expressed that intention, but no schedule was set. Informed sources believe that the CAAC will move forward positively now that Eurocontrol appears ready to mandate TCAS 2 usage.

Eurocontrol opens its new Brussels headquarters containing the CFMU on 27 June. The CFMU, which will be responsible for flow management throughout the Eurocontrol area, will replace the existing five tactical flow-management units by mid-1996.

Source: Flight International