FMT Advanced Visual Docking Guidance System (AVDGS) is called APIS which stands for Aircraft Parking and Information System. The first version was developed and installed in 1975 and has since then been continuously developed.
APIS is a product of knowledge and experience gathered over many years. The result is a reliable, fast and easy to setup and manage system with a high redundancy because of independent components assuring the many functions of the APIS:
– Distance and speed measurement together with profile recognition is performed by high precision eye safe class 1 laser.
– Text and closing rate information is provided by large dual color LED displays providing information at long distance in colors following codes defined by ICAO.
– Azimuth Guidance is given in real time at long range with high precision Moiré technology.
– In addition to the recognition of aircraft by profile scanning, FMT has developed and patented a solution for individually identifying an aircraft. This is the only available technology that can individually identify an aircraft with 100% certainty. By receiving and decoding the ICAO bit 24 code sent from the aircraft transponder, APIS will reveal aircraft tail number, aircraft type and sub type, operating airline, flight number, etc. If an aircraft is approaching the wrong stand, APIS will show STOP on the pilot display, send an alarm to the central control. The Passenger Boarding Bridge can be locked during the docking sequence and will be released when the aircraft is parked in the correct position.
– On request from airlines and airport operators, FMT has developed an advanced obstacle detection system. The obstacle detection is performed by 3-dimensional cameras that will be adjusted and calibrated to identify small objects within a defined stand area. If an obstacle is detected APIS will display STOP and send an alarm to the central control. When the obstacle is removed, APIS will automatically go back to normal mode and no acknowledgement of the alarm is needed.
– APIS can be equipped with an internal camera for stand surveillance
and to record events on the stand.
APIS is a configurable system and can be tailor-made according customer needs. The standard version consists of:
– Class 1 high precision eye safe laser for distance and speed measurement together with profile recognition of an aircraft.
– Single LED panel that can provide 1 or 2 text rows in dual color.
– Closing Rate thermometer in dual color.
– Azimuth Guidance by Moiré Technology.
In addition to the standard version, APIS can be supplied with following options:
– Transponder receiver for individual identification of aircraft.
– Advanced Obstacle Detection by 3D cameras.
– Additional LED panel providing an extra 1 or 2 text rows in dual color. In total 2-4 text rows will be provided.
– Integrated Surveillance camera.
– Co-pilot Azimuth Guidance.
– Integrated Traffic Lights.
All APIS units are manufactured with a universal cabinet that is designed to include all possible options. This enables the client to upgrade the APIS with additional functions and features even after installation.
VDGS systems must be able to operate every day and night independent of weather conditions or other external interference.
Based on FMT´s experience from aircraft docking globally since 1975, FMT has made the conclusion that the best VDGS consists of several independent components providing the necessary information to secure a safe docking procedure. This means that if there is a problem with one component, the other components will continue to work. This is the reason why APIS is not only relying on one component to provide all functionality. Therefore the most important functionality is controlled by different components as follows:
– Laser: Distance and speed measurement together with profile recognition of an aircraft.
– Transponder receiver for individual identification of an aircraft. Tail number, aircraft type and sub type, flight number, operating airline, etc. will be identified.
– 3D cameras for obstacle detection.
– Moiré technology for long range Azimuth Guidance. The Moiré technology provides Azimuth Guidance at a longer distance and a broader area than the laser can provide. APIS provides Azimuth Guidance also at distances over 200 meters and when the aircraft is on the taxiway and perpendicular to the lead in line.
Compliance with ICAO Annex 14
A VDGS is an important safety device at the aircraft stand with very high requirements concerning precision, safety, and reliability. Throughout the history of FMT’s docking systems, it has been of the utmost importance to always comply with the ICAO Annex 14 regulations concerning Advanced Visual Docking Guidance Systems. APIS is in full compliance with ICAO ANNEX 14, Section 5.3.25 and 5.3.26.
System Integration, Efficiency and Economy through Safe and Rapid Turnarounds
APIS can operate as a stand-alone system but, in order to take full advantage of its potential, the system should be interfaced with the airport’s central database – for example AODB and/or FIDS.
This interface can be done in different ways upon client request:
– APIS can be delivered with an open interface making it possible for the airport operator to establish desired interfaces to APIS without any involvement from FMT.
– FMT can supply Atlantis Stand Management System that will interface to APIS and any other IT system or equipment on the same network within the airport.
When APIS is interfaced to the network, key information will be provided to the APIS enabling the system to automatically set and activate for the specific arriving aircraft. Error codes, Block On and Block Off information, etc. will be sent from APIS to the central system.
Even if APIS is not connected to a central database or Atlantis, interface to stand equipment such as Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB), 400Hz, PCA, lead in lights, pits, etc. can be provided by potential free contacts. For example, a safety interlock between PBB and APIS can be established by potential free contacts assuring that the PBB cannot be moved before the aircraft is safely parked and the APIS cannot be activated for docking if the PBB is in the wrong position.
When APIS is interfaced to a FMT PBB, APIS will communicate information to the PBB regarding the arriving aircraft type and series to allow automatic pre-setting and semi- automatic connection of the PBB. An interface between the APIS and the PBB ensures that the PBB can be locked for operation after pre-setting and until the aircraft is safely parked. Once the aircraft is safely parked and has attained the Block On status APIS will communicate this information to the PBB, which is then released and can dock to the aircraft.