Today, we are pleased to announce a significant update to the UK Controller Plugin - automated assignment of stands to arriving aircraft!
We've sourced together stand data for as many airports we can find in the AIP, vMATS and sector file... even the two lone stands at Dundee... to allow the plugin infrastructure to manage and assign realistic stands for arriving aircraft!
How does it work?
Stands are assigned around fifteen minutes before the aircraft is due to arrive.
We assign a stand based on a fair number of conditions the most basic are based on;
- Aircraft type
- Wake category (excluding Light aircrafts)
- Origin airport
We do a few clever things too, including;
- Preventing occupied stands from being assigned
- Generating a new stand for an arrival automatically if the one assigned becomes occupied before its arrival (e.g. someone spawns in)
- Where stands are paired together (e.g. one cannot be occupied if the other is occupied), we honour the pairing's conditions
- Reserving stands for events (e.g. CTP) so that an assigned aircraft can get the correct stand
Controllers get the final say with the ability change the stand using the TAG functions (see below). UKCP will also not attempt to assign a stand to an aircraft type that it doesn't recognise, but we have information on the vast majorty that you will see.
How can I see the allocations?
If you're on the latest version of the plugin (2.5.2), you do not need to update UKCP to take advantage of this functionality!
You can see what stand has been allocated using the UK Controller Plugin Stand Assignment TAG item. Edits may be performed either through a freetext box, or list, by selecting the appropriate TAG function.
Like squawk allocation, UKCP will only influence stands for aircrafts that are within or approaching your area of control.
What future developments do you have planned for this feature?
We have already completed an integration with vSMR to allow the assigned stands to be visible in the SMR displays.
We are currently working with the team over at vStrips to display the stand assignments in their application and to allow you to edit the assignments directly via the strip.
There may be other updates in the future too, including changes to our website's airport pages to make it easier for pilots to find the stand information that they need.
What can I do to make this feature better?
We'll be updating the assignment information as updated crib sheets are released. We will always appreciate any extra information about where airlines park, what size of aircraft stands can accommodate etc.
Finally, we'd appreciate your feedback - for a lack of information we've had to make a few assumptions about certain stands (for example, what size of aircraft they can take). If you see an allocation that you think is incorrect, please let us know via Discord or the Helpdesk so we can correct it!