Follow the Greens - Cutting Edge Technology for todays Airports
“Follow the Greens” is an innovative guidance system for taxiing aircraft. It provides the flight crew with guidance indications during the taxiing phase on the airport surface by automatically illuminating individual taxiway center line lights in front of the aircraft and also automatically switching off lights in areas where they are not needed. The system has many benefits for both – pilots and controllers. Learn why it is one of the leading technologies of todays major airports.
Focus on what is important
Green means Go, Red means Stop
Reducing Mental Workload is Key
Maintaining situational awareness can be sometimes challenging for controllers at busy airports. “Follow the Greens” offers controllers the solution that significantly reduces mental workload and helps you to stay ahead. TowerPad® gives you a visual representation of the present situation at the airport. It supports you with taxi-suggestions for each aircraft and a visual context for all radio calls while improving situational awareness and thus enhancing safety.
When a pilot has finished engine startup and requests taxi, you select the aircraft on the touch screen in front of you and TowerPad® provides a taxi route proposal to the runway holding point. While the proposed route already considers all operational constraints you can easily overwrite the route before assigning it. Once assigned, the lights are automatically switched along the taxi route and all you have to say is “Taxi to holding point runway 30R, Follow the Greens.”
Towards more Automation
Many pilots know „Follow the Greens“ as a guidance system operational at LHR. At Heathrow the system is operated in a manual mode meaning that lights are switched on manually by a lighting panel operator up in the tower according to the clearances given by controllers. Increasingly „Follow the Greens“ is referring to a more automated system, though, in which the switching of lights or segments of the lighting system is automatically carried out by a software system.
For pilots the effect is the same – seamless, unambiguous, individual guidance by taxiway centerline lights. For an airport operator the discussion becomes a very different one with automated “Follow the Greens”: whereas a dynamic airfield ground lighting system is required as in the past, the need is now for another software engine, often referred to as surface manager (SMAN) instead of employing shifts of lighting panel operators.
Focussing on the Needs of Controllers
ATRiCS Advanced Traffic Solutions GmbH, Germany has been one of the very early driving forces of “Follow the Greens”. Not being for the airfield lighting industry the company for a long time has advocated a more operations oriented approach to Follow the Greens focussing on the needs and work flows of controllers rather than approaching the system from an electrical engineer’s perspective.
„We have seen far too many controllers up in towers fed up with static, unintuitive button/switch interfaces that have originally been designed by electrical engineers. Our feeling was that from about 2005 onwards, this era has definitely been over and has prepared the ground for approaches putting the controller and his work in the center of attention when it comes to designing such a system.“
says ATRiCS CEO, Wolfgang Hatzack.
Avoiding the „Sea of Lights“