Journal of Navigation

STCA, TCAS, Airproxes and Collision Risk

Peter Brooker a1
a1 Cranfield University. Email:

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The focus here is on the performance of and interaction between the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and the controller's short-term conflict alert (STCA) system. The data source used is UK Airprox Board Reports of close encounters between aircraft, and the focus is on commercial air transport aircraft using UK controlled airspace with a radar service. Do the systems work well together? Are controllers surprised when they find out that a pilot has received a TCAS resolution advisory? What do TCAS and STCA events say about collision risk? Generally, the systems seem to work together well. On most occasions, controllers are not surprised by TCAS advisories: either they have detected the problem themselves or STCA has alerted them to it. The statistically expected rate of future mid-air collisions is estimated by extrapolation of Airprox closest encounter distances.

Key Words: Collision Avoidance; Mid-air collision; ATM; ATC.