The European Operational Concept Validation Methodology (E-OCVM) created by EUROCONTROL aims to provide a common approach to be applied by Research and Development organisations in support of the development and validation of operational Air Traffic Management (ATM) applications as they mature from simple concepts. It covers the concept development lifecycle from early stages of identification of the need for improvement through to the testing of full pre-operational system prototypes, prior to industrialisation and operational implementation.

ATM systems are complex socio-technical systems that involve many different actors. Improving the performance of the current generation human centered ATM systems is a daunting task. The EUROCONTROL Agency along with the European Commission has sponsored work since 1999 to support improvements into the methods of how new generation ATM systems are defined, validated and implemented. The European Operational Concept Validation Methodology is a structured approach to designing ATM systems in a way that the many ATM stakeholders can voice their opinions and concerns during the early phases of development. The objective is to reduce the risk of engineering unwanted, unsafe or unworkable ATM systems.


Since the mid 1990s the lack of clear and understandable information (“business case”) to support decision making on implementation was generally perceived as being the root of the problem of limited transfer from R&D to operations, sparking the “Validation Debate”. The European Commission (EC) provided a platform for that debate bringing together industry, R&D organisations, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and the EUROCONTROL Agency in a Concerted Action on Validation of ATM systems (CAVA).

Following CAVA, the EC project Master ATM European Validation Plan (MAEVA) provided a forum for the continuation of the discussion and an intensified co-ordination between the EC and the Agency. Building on an earlier Agency proposal MAEVA provided the first version of the Validation Guideline Handbook (VGH) in April 2002. In June 2002 the Agency made its Validation Data Repository (VDR) publicly available. Both developments, VGH and VDR, have also been coordinated by the Agency with the US FAA under the umbrella of the FAA/EUROCONTROL co-operative R&D effort. A result of the ongoing FAA/EUROCONTROL collaboration is the FAA/EUROCONTROL Operational Concept Validation Strategy Document (OCVSD). Both the E-OCVM and OCVSD are consistent and complementary.

The VGH was broadly disseminated by the MAEVA project. The Agency made it a reference document in its EATM Management Handbook. MAEVA organized several fora to discuss VGH and VDR and solicited feedback from the VGH and VDR users. Before MAEVA terminated in May 2004 several new versions of VGH and VDR were produced.

Since then the Agency integrated its own concept development and performance driven approach and EATM Business Model into the VGH resulting in the Operational Concept Validation Methodology (OCVM). The OCVM and VDR were harmonised and support each other. In 2004 the OCVM was broadly reviewed and further improved by the EC project Co-operative Approach to Air Traffic Services (CAATS).

The “Validation Debate” has finally converged to the European OCVM (E-OCVM). It has reached sufficient maturity to become a reference document in the EC/Agency ATM co-operation. It found also entry into US FAA activities as well as the JPDO NextGen effort. The VDR provides a data structure to support E-OCVM and awareness of the progress of validation. After completion of CAATS, the EC continues to support E-OCVM via the Co-operative Approach to Air Traffic Services II Project (CAATS II).

Further information on the E-OCVM is available from the EUROCONTROL / European Commission Validation Forum

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