With modern airports, equipped with
modern instrumentation, controlling planes that also have
state-of-the-art equipment on board, air crashes are few and far
between, despite the annual increase in air traffic.
But should a crash occur, the main question is - can the airport
efficiently handle the plethora of problems associated with an aircraft
crash, and minimise damage and loss of life and injury?
There is very little warning
before a crash, consequently the fact that an aircraft has either
crashed, or is about to crash, has to be communicated as rapidly as
possible to all the parties who who normally be associated with
providing a service, both in and around the crash site. The
staff associated with providing these services are often not in an
office, consequently the fastest method of communication is by the use
of mobile (cell) phones. What is very important is to make
sure that the service provider's staff have received the crash
notification, and that they key in their state of readiness, so that
standby staff can be called up if the main staff are not available.
The media also needs to be informed, so
that they can contact the general public, and ask them to avoid the
crash site area, in order to allow emergency services faster access to
the crash victims.
Airport management needs to be
informed, so that they can prepare to handle all the queries from
people associate with the passengers
Due to the vast amount of traffic, the
airports Joint Operations Control Centre will very likely be swamped
with incoming callers, and will find it difficult to dispatch service
Excess traffic will often block the
Airport's PABX, making communication very difficult.
Heavy radio traffic will also occur as
all the verious rescue teams start to operate.
All the above require communications,
and many of the normally reliable communication channels at the airport
are likely to be overloaded or blocked.
Consequently, the Micromation CFR
System makes use of private wires (main and standby) between the
various operators (ATC, FIre Control Centre, etc) at the airport, each
pair constantly being checked for possible cable faults, and able to
automatically divert to another cable if faults are found. As
these cannot be blocked, or accessed by the general public, when
contantly monitored they become a very reliable communication
channel. Note that there us no need to have manual
daily or weekly checks, as the system automatically checks these
circuits, and will report any failures.
Of course, private wire communications
cannot be used for general communications. Here Micromation
utilises a powerful voice notification system to communication with
service providers over various dial lines or channels. The voice
notification system has been shown to be able to communicate with a
considerbale number of people far faster than operators in a control
centre can, as those called cannot "discuss" the crash with a computer.
The Micromation CFR system makes
use of private wires, dial lines or channels, or Primary Rate
ISDN for all speech communications.
Data communications is done by means of
the airports LAN or WAN
Controls, such as those used to
automatically open the doors of the building housing the Fire &
Rescue vehicles at the airport, as well as to power the airport's long
range CFR siren are provided.
Systems Block Diagram
Micromation Systems Existing Installations
Micromation has already installed a Crash Fire Alarm System at the new King Shaka Airport north of Durban.