Fri, Aug 21, 2009
Enhances Flight Safety During TCAS Maneuvers
Following recent successful development testing, a new
Auto-Pilot/Flight-Director (AP/FD) TCAS mode for the Airbus A380
has been approved and certified by the European Aviation Safety
The main benefit of the system is that it could further enhance
safety during a traffic avoidance situation because the pilot can
now fly the aircraft without switching out of one mode and into
another. Thus, by simplifying the actions required by the pilot
during a TCAS manoeuvre, this enhanced TCAS mode minimizes
potential overreactions or inverse reactions while preserving his
or her concentration at a critical time.
In addition to now being certified on the A380, the AP/FD TCAS
mode will also become available for retrofit on other Airbus
Fly-By-Wire aircraft in the coming years.
The new AP/FD TCAS mode essentially completes the existing TCAS
functionality by implementing a TCAS vertical guidance feature into
the Auto Flight computer. The result is that now the Auto Flight
computer can control the vertical speed of the aircraft which is
adapted to each resolution advisory acquired from TCAS.
Moreover, with this new AP/FD TCAS mode activated, when a TCAS
"Resolution Advisory" (RA) is received, the pilot no longer needs
to disengage the autopilot or Flight Director before conducting the
TCAS maneuvers. Rather, the autopilot can now automatically conduct
the correct TCAS manoeuvre, to position the aircraft clear of any
potential traffic conflict.
Furthermore, in the case of the pilot flying the aircraft
manually (i.e. without autopilot engaged) when a RA is received,
previously the Flight Director 'pitch bar guidance' - indicated on
the Primary Flight Display - had to be switched off, but with the
new mode, the Flight Director bars remain active and smoothly guide
pilot to fly the TCAS manoeuvre. At any time, the crew still
retains the ability to override the proposed manoeuvre, so as to
respond manually to a TCAS RA by flying according to "conventional"
TCAS procedures, i.e. manually controlling the vertical speed by
referring to TCAS indications on the pilot's vertical speed
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