Rating for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Control

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Rating for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Control

37TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Toulouse, France, 30 March – 3 April 1998

WP No. 150

Rating for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Control


IFATCA ADS Provisional Policy Page 3213 para.1.2. states:

“Where an ADS-ATC service is introduced ATC staff shall receive comprehensive and appropriate training in ADS-ATC control service.”


Debate at the 36th Conference about the proposal to create a separate rating to cover Automatic Dependant Surveillance (ADS), has drawn SC4 to the conclusion that it is now necessary to propose creation of IFATCA policy supporting such a rating.


A great deal of debate has taken place since the control of aircraft by way of ADS and Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) first became possible. IFATCA has provisional policy requiring “comprehensive and appropriate training”.

ICAO has advised IFATCA that such an ICAO rating was a possibility and requesting this organisation’s assistance in developing a training manual for ADS controllers.

At the same time, the New Zealand Airways Corporation, probably the most advanced in the introduction of ADS control via CPDLC, created a training manual. This has been used as a basis for SC4’s study of the required training curriculum.

There has been mention of a rating by Member associations during all the sessions on ADS.

Everything SC4 has studied on the subject has convinced the Committee members that the control system being proposed is radically different to the Procedural and Radar ratings in place today. The display system is not radar or flight progress strip based. The communication system is entirely new and different to any previous communication method. The separation standards are unique to ADS control and there are new and different emergency and contingency procedures to be learned.

Any trained Radar or Procedural controller would have to undergo an extensive training syllabus and be validated on the new equipment and new procedures under simulated and real traffic conditions. This fulfils all the criteria for the creation of a separate rating. However many civil aviation administrations are studying or adopting rating systems which vary from the ICAO model.

Typically these comprise a functional rating such as enroute, terminal and tower, with endorsements for particular operating positions or equipment. These models would incorporate equipment such as ADS as part of an endorsement. For instance, a controller may hold an enroute rating but only be endorsed for procedural (paper strip) operations. If endorsement training was to be given on a sector which incorporated CPDLC and ADS equipment, then training on this would be part of the endorsement.

Consequently SC4 will retain this item on its work programme but expand it to include a study of a preferred future rating structure.


Techniques to be used by ADS controllers are significantly different to those currently in use in radar and non-radar environments.

ICAO is studying the introduction of an ADS/CPDLC training manual.
IFATCA provisional policy provides for “comprehensive and appropriate training”.

Studies made by SC4 point to a definite requirement for training to be embodied in a separate rating covering inter alia:

  • Display systems;
  • Separation standards;
  • Communication equipment and protocols;
  • Emergency and contingency conditions.

SC4 will retain and expand this work programme item to include studies of a preferred future rating system.


The IFATCA Manual be amended as follows:

Delete paragraph three of ADS Provisional Policy on Page 3213. At Page 4343 after 4.6. Add new paras:

Automatic Dependant Surveillance (ADS) Control Rating.

Control of aircraft via ADS and Controller/Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) is sufficiently different to other forms of ATC rating to warrant comprehensive training and a separate rating.
The training syllabus should inter alia contain instruction in:

  • Aircraft Situational Displays and Degraded Operational Modes;
  • The CPDLC equipment and protocols including failure modes and procedures;
  • ADS separation standards and where applicable ADS/Radar/Flight Data Processor Track separation standards;
  • Aircraft Emergency protocols and procedures.


IFATCA MANUAL – Technical Policy.

New Zealand Airways Corporation – OCS Training Manual – National ATS Training.


Last Update: September 28, 2020  

March 10, 2020   620   Jean-Francois Lepage    1998    

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