News & Events-Frazer-Nash helps Snowflake Software define critical systems engineering strategy

Frazer-Nash has supported Snowflake Software with the development of its systems engineering strategy ‒ which in turn has helped the company obtain approval from the UK air traffic services provider, NATS.

Frazer-Nash was brought in to define the engineering strategy to help align and improve Snowflake's procedures. Through this, Snowflake was able to demonstrate that its software and system development procedures met the EUROCAE ED-109 objectives for an Assurance Level 4 (AL-4) system.

In November 2013, Snowflake's SWIM-WS system was approved for operational trial as part of the Heathrow XMAN project ‒ the new operational procedure to cut the amount of time aircraft circle in 'holding stacks' at the airport. This month, as a result of passing the NATS audit, the SWIM-WS system has now reached operational status at the NATS Swanwick air traffic control centre.

Martin Soltau, Business Manager in Frazer-Nash's aerospace team, said:

"In order to understand Snowflake's business and create a solution that was right for them, our team worked onsite with their specialists to ensure the strategy would see them through the NATS selection process.

"This project is one example of the type of work we do with smaller businesses to support them in their work with the larger aerospace primes."

Alex Brooker, director of professional services at Snowflake Software, commented:

"In the last two years, Frazer-Nash has helped Snowflake align and improve our procedures, as part of a robust systems engineering strategy. This enabled us to provide a high quality AL-4 system delivery to NATS which has now been approved for operational use. It will help NATS achieve its corporate objectives by reducing CO2 emissions. 

"Having a trusted independent company assess our procedures and then help us towards this goal so efficiently has been fantastic."

Traditionally NATS has only been able to influence an arriving aircraft's approach to Heathrow once it enters UK airspace - sometimes only 80 miles from the airport. This limits the opportunity to manage the flow of traffic and can result in additional time spent in the holding stacks.

Using Snowflake's SWIM-WS system under operational trial since April 2014, NATS has recorded a reduction of up to a minute in holding times for those flights influenced by the trial, saving airlines around £1 million (€1.25 million) in fuel and 5,000 tonnes of CO2, as well as reducing noise for communities underneath the stacks.