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Air Traffic Control ATC

Outlines

Function. Operation. Modes Of Operation. How a transponder works? System Components.

Function

Air traffic control system allows controllers to track airplane movement on ground radar displays (GND controller scope).

It is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The GND station monitor the A/Cs identification and altitude and computes its range, bearing and airspeed.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (ATC) TRANSPONDERS

Types Of Radar

PSR (Primary Surveillance Radar): Operates on the normal radar principle in which any aircraft appears as lighting point on the radar display with no other information than distance and bearing. It transmits a narrow RF beam through a rotating antenna and receives its reflection by any target in its path. from the elapsed time, the distance to the A/C is computed. It is not requiring any response from the aircraft.

Types Of Radar

SSR(Secondary Surveillance Radar): Uses what is called an ATC transponder in the aircraft . It provides the communication capabilities between the GND station and the A/C. The primary and secondary surveillance antennas are mounted on the same rotating mounting, therefore both always look in same direction at the same time.

ATC COMMUNICATION

ATC Components

ATC system consists of :

Ground station PSR & SSR. Airborne ATC transponder is a receiver/transmitter which transmits in response to an interrogation from the ground station secondary surveillance radar system.

Operation

The ground station SSR transmits interrogation signals that is received by the aircraft. ATC transponder replies to this interrogation by transmitting a reply signal consisting of a special code which will be displayed on the ground radar unit.

Modes Of Operation
1.

2.

3.

4.

Mode A: It is used to give the identification code of the A/C, delay = 8 s. Mode B: Optional mode for identification transmitting, delay = 17 s. Mode C: Interrogates the A/C about its altitude, delay = 21 s. Mode D: Optional mode for altitude transmitting, delay = 25 s.

How a transponder works?

The ground SSR interrogates the airborne transponder in one of two modes A and C. The type of interrogation is determined by the spacing between between two pulses (P1 and P3) transmitted on a carrier frequency of 1030 MHZ.

How a transponder works?

Mode A

Mode C

How a transponder works?


Each interrogation contains a third pulse P2 which is transmitted by an omni-directional antenna located with SSR. The pulse P2 is transmitted 2 s after P1 pulse. P2 has lower amplitude than P1. * P2 (SLS) : side lobe suppression

How a transponder works?

By comparing the relative amplitude of the P1 and P2 pulses, the airborne transponder can determine whether or not the airplane is in the main lobe of the SSR.

How a transponder works?

The transponder replies to mode A or C interrogations with coded pulses on a carrier frequency of 1090 MHZ.

Mode A reply : the coded pulses represent 4 digit octal code entered on the ATC control panel by the pilot from 0000 7777 (8^4=4096 combinations). An emergency identification code (7700 or 7777) causes aural warning to the controller.

How a transponder works?

Mode C reply : the coded pulse represent altitude data from CADC.

How a transponder works?

F1 and F2 (first and last framing pulses) are always present and separated by 20.3 s. The encoding of the reply is done by means of the presence (1) or absence (0) of the 12 reply pulses.

How a transponder works?

This pulse is initiated when the IDENT pushbutton switch is pushed on the ATC/TCAS control unit. The IP follows the last framing pulse by 4.35 s.

How a transponder works?

This causes the display on the radar scope to change so the ground station operator can be positive of his particular location on the radar scope.

System Component

Transponder. 2 antenna for each system. Control Panel.

System Component
Transponder (Aircraft)
RECEIVER DECODER

ENCODER

DUPLEXER

CONTROL PANEL AIR DATA COMPUTER

TRANSMITTER

MODULATOR

Code/ altitude information

SUPPRESSOR BUS

System Component

The air data computer supplies coded altitude to the encoder. The control panel supplies selected code information to the encoder. The two transponders and the two DME interrogators are interconnected by a suppressor bus which prevents transmission from more than one system at a time.

System Component

Transponder. 2 antenna for each system. Control Panel.

System Component

According to the aircraft configuration, the transponder selects the antennas (lower or upper) which receive the best transmission signal from the ground ATC secondary radar this allows better radar cover. The reply message is transmitted through the same antenna from which the selected received signal originated.

ATC antenna

Control Panel

Control Panel

System selector switch: selects ATC system desired for use with the knob in standby position Transmission and answers to ground station or other aircraft are inhibited (electrically supplied but not operating). IDENT: by pressing ident button an IP (identification pulse) is transmitted for (18 ~ 20 sec) the ground radar operator will see an enhanced target on the radar scope.

Control Panel

Two sets of knobs of two below the code digital readout : each knob controls one digit to enable the selection of the ATC transmission code. Mode select switch : to select the desired mode of operation.

Control Panel

ALT RPTG SELECTOR : when on enables coded altitude information to be sent to the appropriate ATC system.

ALT SOURCE : to select NO.1 or NO.2 central air data computer to give altitude information to the ATC transponder.

Control Panel (Recently)

Mode S

In a mode S environment, both ATCRBS and mode S equipped airplanes can operate at the same time. Mode S, TCAS and ATCRBS interrogators may also be operating simultaneously in the same airspace.

Mode S interrogators use all call interrogations and discrete interrogations.

Mode S

There are two types of all call interrogations. The mode S/ATCRBS all call : is used to interrogate ATCRBS transponders and to elicit the unique mode S address from mode S transponders.

Mode S

The mode S only all call: elicits the mode S address - an ATCRBS airplane will not reply. After gaining the mode S address from a transponder, the interrogator will lock out the transponder from replying to later all call interrogations and interrogate the transponder using discrete interrogations.

Mode S

An additional signal, the ATCRBS all call, is used to interrogate ATCRBS transponders only; mode S transponders will not reply.

Discrete interrogations are used to interrogate mode S transponders only; ATCRBS transponders will not reply.

Mode S

The mode S/ATCRBS or ATCRBS only all call:


The additional P4 pulse is ignored by an ATCRBS transponder and an ATCRBS transponder will respond based on normal criteria.

Mode S

The mode S transponder evaluates the P4 pulse, if the P4 pulse is 1.6 s, the mode S transponder identifies the interrogation as a mode S/ATCRBS all call and the transponder will respond (if not previously locked out) with its unique 24 bit address.

Mode S

If the P4 pulse is 0.8 s, then the mode S transponder identifies the interrogation as an ATCRBS only interrogation and will not respond.

Mode S

If the P4 pulse is absent, then the mode S transponder will reply with the appropriated ATCRBS response.

Mode S

The mode S only all call is sent in the same format as the mode S discrete interrogations except that the address being interrogated is all logic ones.

Mode S

Mode S discrete interrogation:


Discrete interrogations are called uplink formats Pulses P1 and P2 are of the same amplitude ATCRBS transponders will not reply.

Mode S

1.5 s after the beginning of the P2 pulse, the mode S interrogator begins the P6 pulse. The P6 pulse is a 4 MHz continuous wave.

Mode S

2.75 s after the Beginning of the P2 pulse, the P6 signal reverses the phase of the 4 MHz wave. This reversal is called the sync phase reversal.

Mode S

Another pulse, P5 is in phase with the beginning P6 wave and is transmitted from an omni-directional antenna at the same time as the sync phase reversal occurs.

Mode S

If the mode S transponder senses the sync phase reversal, the transponder will evaluate the address. If the interrogation is addressed to that transponder, the transponder will reply.

Mode S

If the mode S transponder is in the side lobe of the interrogator, the P5 pulse will mask the sync phase reversal and the transponder will not respond.

Mode S

The 4 MHz P6 signal after the sync phase reversal is divided into either 112 or 56 bit times. If during a bit time the phase of the signal is reversed, that bit is a logic one. If the phase of the signal is not reversed, the bit is a logic zero (DPSK).

Mode S

Mode S replies
Responses are called downlink formats and the downlink format used by the transponder is based on the uplink format received from the interrogator. The data bits are transmitted using pulse position modulation (PPM).

PPM sends a logic one if the pulse is in the first portion of the bit time and a logic zero if the pulse is in the last portion of the bit time. Bit time is 1 s.

Mode S

Mode S transponder is designed to reply to one all call every 4 or 8 or 16 all call interrogators (random) so there is a better chance to receive a response from only airplane at a time.