• ACTIVITYDemonstration Project (from FS)
  • STATUSOngoing

Objectives of the service

Aircraft exposure to environmental factors, including ice, dust, sulphur and volcanic ash, accelerates wear of aircraft engine and airframe components, and may pose a threat to flight safety.

Unscheduled maintenance is costly to many parties in the aviation industry and causes disruption to airline operator flight schedules. SATAVIA’s mission is to enable aircraft and engine original equipment manufacturers (OEM), maintenance repair and overhaul organisations (MROs), and airline operators to minimise the cost and impact of environmental factors on aircraft and components.

Flight planning and flight operations do not incorporate environmental contaminant exposure into their flight optimisation. SATAVIA provides global forecasting capability to minimise airframe exposure in-flight, therefore reducing wear and damage on aircraft due to contaminant exposure.

Figure: Example showing environmental contaminants experienced by an aircraft on a flight from Los Angeles to Paris, from take-off, through cruise, to landing.

SATAVIA’s patented software platform DECISIONX™ combines technology and data from atmospheric modelling, Earth observation, maintenance records and aircraft prognostics sensor data. By aggregating disparate formats of unstructured and structured data, in both paper and digital form, DECISIONX provides environmental data in a form constructive to aviation decision making.

Users and their needs

Airlines, OEMs and MROs need to plan and schedule future maintenance tasks for each aircraft within their fleets. The timing and scope of maintenance can be significantly affected by aircraft component degradation due to exposure to damaging environmental contaminants. Premature failure (e.g. Aircraft on Ground/AOG) and unscheduled repairs can have significant, downstream impact on fleet management and operations, and orders of magnitude greater maintenance costs.

DECISIONX can perform an assessment of exposure to weather and various contaminants including dust, salt, ice, SOx, NOx, black carbon, and various other organic aerosols, for any given aircraft, flight, fleet or building over any time period from 2012 to present day. This is made possible by maintaining a continuous historic record of atmospheric contaminants in three dimensional space, over time.

Above: Sand coated high pressure turbine blades. DECISIONX can quantify an individual engine, aircraft or fleet’s exposure to various aerosols, such as dust, over time.

Uniquely, DECISIONX support allows users to schedule preventative maintenance tasks for each aircraft in their fleet based on per-aircraft contaminant exposures. Key requirements are quality, accuracy and timeliness of data provision in a usable format for maintenance decision-making.

Additionally, those responsible for financial management of aviation assets (airlines and OEMs using the Power by the Hour engine rental model, and lessors) need to closely understand current aircraft value and future financial costs of maintenance and reparation costs.

By consuming condition reports and details of maintenance interventions, DECISIONX can make forward recommendations of maintenance tasks and costs, including threshold-based alerting.

To minimise degradation of aircraft value, DECISIONX allows flight operations and flight planning departments to incorporate environmental contaminant exposure into their flight optimisation.  SATAVIA provides global forecasting capability to minimise airframe exposure in-flight, therefore reducing wear and damage on aircraft due to contaminant exposure.

Service/ system concept

DECISIONX from SATAVIA integrates an array of data sources including: environmental observation (in particular satellite, observation data); climate models; and third-party datasets.

DECISIONX processes global flight data to produced cleaned trajectories and estimated flight schedules for over 100,000 flights per day. Flight data is then combined with atmospheric modelling of four-dimensional (4D) datasets that includes weather (e.g. ice, temperature, humidity) and contaminants (e.g. salt, black carbon, SOx, NOx, and various other organic aerosols). An exposure analysis can then be performed for a given flight trajectory, group of flights, or stationary asset. 

Above: SATAVIA’s atmospheric modelling provide a continuous record of weather and contaminants from 2012 to current. Aircraft trajectories are plotted through this four-dimensional data to quantify exposure.

The DECISIONX platform  is accessed via a secure API, facilitating rapid integration into customer 3rd party systems.

Space Added Value

Space assets involved include Earth Observation (EO; e.g., Meteosat and Sentinel satellites; to provide input data for global climate models and numerical weather prediction models), aeronautical satellite data communications (provided separately by the customer, to update electronic flight bag software for situational awareness during flight on the flight deck of an aircraft), and the Spire constellation for location data of aviation assets via ADS-B.

Current Status

Following a pre-trial collaboration with Safran Analytics that validated the readiness of the system between June 2020 and November 2020, SATAVIA are making positive progress with the DecisionX project, despite the aviation industry being hit heavily by COVID-19. SATAVIA successfully completed the DecisionX Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) on 4 November 2021 and, more recently, the Site Acceptance Test (SAT) Milestone on 30 November 2021. 

The Pilot Trial of the DecisionX system will now take place between 1 December 2021 and 6 January 2022. SATAVIA aim to quantify an expected improvement to Aero-Engine Time-on-Wing and an Engine Wash Cost Benefit by better predicting the Exhaust Gas Temperature Hot Day Margin (EGTHDM) Degradation rate. SATAVIA will analyse satellite Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data and environmental contaminant exposure to improve the prediction of EGTHDM.

The Project Final Review is expected to take place in January 2022.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 14 December 2021 - Created: 14 October 2020