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.
The DECISIONX platform ingests all globally-available aircraft movement data to produce per-aircraft contaminant exposure outputs, accessible via API.
Initial partner workshops and data transfer trials have been successful, and SATAVIA has now processed and delivered the full trial fleet data from Safran Group and Lufthansa Technik through the DECISIONX platform and is awaiting validation from both parties.
SATAVIA’s development and processing capability is unaffected by Covid-19, and the company has adapted well to remote working. However, due to certain partners being more greatly impacted by the crisis, some planned engagement has had to be deferred.
SATAVIA has completed Baseline Design Review in September 2020 and is now preparing for the Critical Design Review milestone.