NAVCANstrips and NAVCANsuite at sites across Canada

NAVCANstrips, formerly known as the Extended Computer Display System (EXCDS), is a real-time tower, terminal, apron and enroute coordination system that permits controllers to manage electronic flight data online, using touch sensitive display screens instead of paper strips.

Operational in Canada since 1998,  NAVCANstrips are now used at more than 80 sites in Canada and world-wide for tower, terminal, airport and enroute coordination. This includes all 42 control towers across the country. NAVCANstrips have been adapted for a variety of airport and terminal environments across the Canadian ANS, from large international airports to smaller facilities offering advisory services. Electronic strips are also used by Greater Toronto Airport Authority Apron Management and De-icing Units.

In its most common adaptation across Canada, NAVCANstrips is a fully integrated component of NAVCANsuite, a family of tower automation products, providing fast and reliable access to airport, tower, and terminal ATC information. NAVCANsuite features an integrated controller working position comprising up to four touch screen monitors that provide a modular set of NAVCANatm air traffic management products. Other NAV CANADA sites with NAVCANsuite products include Area Control Centres, Flight Service Stations and Flight Information Centres.

NAVCANtrac at seven area control centres in Canada

In use at all seven Area Control Centres in the country (Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Moncton, Toronto and Gander) since December 2009, NAVCANtrac automates flight profile monitoring and extends conflict prediction and detection into non-radar airspace. It also processes and distributes flight data information to other NAV CANADA and international systems, enabling collaborative decision-making in flight planning which in turn results in operators flying preferred routes more often.

NAVCANtrac also simplifies the flight management process for air traffic controllers and other operational staff by automatically updating flight information coming from other centres, computing flight estimates and processing flight plans.

The elimination of many manual processes ‒ such as the need to verbally “hand off” aircraft ‒ improves safety by increasing the time controllers have available to focus on separating aircraft.

In 2014, a Medium Term Conflict Detection (MTCD) feature was implemented into Canada’s NAVCANtrac systems, allowing air traffic controllers to see projected flight paths, staying two steps ahead of potential conflict. With MTCD, controllers can perform trial probes on pilot-requested route or altitude changes as well as controller-planned resolutions to ensure a conflict free clearance is issued.

Another feature recently phased in to NAVCANtrac is Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), which supports text-based communications between pilots and controllers. CPDLC helps reduce frequency congestion by decreasing the need for voice communications. It also enhances safety and efficiency by using standardized messages and reducing the likelihood of read-back and hear-back errors.