Air traffic safety

People story

Air traffic safety: We take responsibility

Flying is one of the world’s greatest achievements. Planes get us everywhere quickly and, especially, safely. Our employees and colleagues help to ensure that this is so and remains so.

Travel by bus, train or car – none of these modes of transport is as safe as an airplane. Numerous statistics prove this. But why is flying safer? Many things contribute to the safety of air travel, from security checks at airports to communications between responsible parties to air traffic controllers guiding aircraft through the sky. In all these fields, Rohde & Schwarz solutions are at the forefront.

Air traffic safety – a critical matter

At Rohde & Schwarz headquarters in Munich, Jörg Kilpert and his team design communications systems for airports and national ATC organizations. “We make sure that air traffic controllers can always communicate with the pilots or other controllers at all times,” says the system engineer. "Voice is still the communications medium preferred by air traffic controllers. If a controller can't reach the pilots, aircraft can no longer be safely guided and the airspace will be cleared.” Bert Janssen, Project Manager in Secure Communications, adds: “Communications systems are extremely critical to safety and must meet the highest quality requirements. This makes it all the more important for us to deliver systems that customers such as DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung in Germany and National Air Traffic Services in the United Kingdom can rely on in their day-to-day operations.”

In this industry, Rohde & Schwarz employees are regarded as trustworthy experts. They participate in the relevant standard-setting bodies and in a variety of study and working groups. They also test new technologies together with partners.

Air traffic safety

Flight operations hold growing challenges

Today there are upwards of four billion airline passengers per year. And the number is steadily increasing; according to forecasts, the number of passengers in the air will rise to around 8 billion within the next 20 years.

“As radiocommunications, technology and automation continue to advance, new safety standards need to be set and new products developed,” notes Amelie Hopf, Service Delivery Expert in airborne radiocommunications at the Rohde & Schwarz plant in Teisnach.

Communication with air traffic controllers

Particularly with regard to safety, the air transportation industry faces the challenge of making technology ever more efficient. Meeting this challenge in the best way possible is also the job of Dumitru Bica, Chief Technological Officer at Rohde & Schwarz Topex in Bucharest. His team of software engineers developed the voice communications systems. "To understand the needs of air traffic controllers and implement the functionalities they want, we try to involve them as early as possible in our projects. We feel it is extremely important that user training covers all application scenarios in everyday use."

Dumitru Bica, Amelie Hopf, Jörg Kilpert and Bert Janssen are absolute experts in their fields. What also makes them stand out is that they are still explorers and continue to expand their knowledge. They give a face to the world of tomorrow.

Aviation safety

More safety on the ground and in the air

The goal of everyone at Rohde & Schwarz is to fulfill the aviation industry's every wish. Amelie Hopf mentions one example: the R&S®QPS security scanner that is used at many international airports. New security measures are also needed in the area of unmanned aerial vehicles. Thanks to R&S®ARDRONIS, the first step has already been taken to safeguard flight operations against remotely controlled drones. Jörg Kilpert confidently states that “The next five to ten years will certainly be exciting. First, air traffic will steadily increase, and second, drones and air taxis will increase the number of aircraft in the air that somehow have to be guided and coordinated.”

Flight operations

Innovative pioneering solutions for aviation safety

The transition from analog voice communication to voice over IP (IP based voice transmission) is already in full swing. “In the network technology area, there will be security innovations that will improve the quality of the networks and avoid malfunctions,” comments Bert Janssen. “With increasing digitalization, there will be innovations in network security to prevent unauthorized incursions by third parties,” he continues. The Rohde & Schwarz developers can draw on past experience: "We implemented the first IP based voice communications system and the first virtual air traffic control center. We also found a solution for selecting the best voice signal in IP networks," notes Dumitru Bica. “In our area, I think we are one of the most innovative companies worldwide.”

We take responsibility

Joerg Kilpert
Jörg Kilpert, Director of Systems Engineering & Technology

As Director of Systems Engineering & Technology ATC in the Air Traffic Control business unit, along with my team I handle the design of complete communications infrastructures in air traffic controllers’ workstations in the area control center or airport tower, right down to the antenna.

There are many things I appreciate about Rohde & Schwarz: You can create something really new, you see the results of your work at the end and you take responsibility for it. Your colleagues are super-motivated, and everyone works toward a common goal across the different locations around the world. You can really put yourself to the test, shift things and move them forward.

Bert Janssen
Bert Janssen, Principal Project Manager

My exact job title is Principal Project Manager, but ‘project manager with complete responsibility’ would also be entirely accurate. I am responsible for compliance with costs, time, quality and customer satisfaction when systems are rolled out.

As the liaison to the customer, I represent the company’s philosophy, and I am responsible for living up to our principles and acting in accordance with them. In my view, Rohde & Schwarz is a very socially responsible employer, fosters its employees and thereby clearly differentiates itself from the hire-and-fire policy of other companies.

Amelie Hopf
Amelie Hopf, Service Delivery Expert

As Service Delivery Expert, I am responsible for ensuring the services stipulated with the customer in the service level agreement. In regularly communicating and collaborating with our customers and Rohde & Schwarz stakeholders, we monitor and review system performance and services and, where necessary, take corrective measures.

The aim is for us to create the best possible system experience for the customer. Especially due to the international environment, assignments are diversified and highly interesting. Even as a career newcomer, you can take on responsibility, set yourself challenges and, in so doing, quickly learn a lot.

Dumitro Bica
Dumitro Bica, Chief Technological Officer

My job title is Chief Technological Officer, and I indeed drive the technological development at Rohde & Schwarz Topex. We develop the voice switch and, together with our colleagues in Munich, we can offer a comprehensive aeronautical communications solution, from the air traffic operator's microphone to the radio station antenna.

What’s special about working for Rohde & Schwarz Topex is that we feel like part of a large family and that we develop interesting things from a technical point of view, many of them in premiere in the field of ATC.”

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