Objectives of the service
PLANET2 aims at providing business and regional aviation with in-flight information updates on weather conditions and hazards, while contributing at the same time to the observation of the atmosphere thanks to in-situ measurements (e.g. pressure, temperature, and wind) sent from the aircraft to the weather agencies.
Besides, the system targets in-flight reporting of dangerous encountered weather conditions via the delivery of digital PIREPs (pilot reports) to other aircrafts, and other non-meteorological services such as in-flight messaging or monitoring.
PLANET2 is a spin-off of the PLANET project (ARTES 3-4 Newcomers), successfully completed in September 2011 with the development of prototype service and on-board Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) targeting the light/small aircraft segment.
Thanks to the “collaborative meteo concept” (i.e. fruition of weather services and provision of weather observation data at the same time), PLANET2 aims at:
- Increasing considerably the number of in-situ measurements made available to weather agencies, which are nowadays provided only by commercial airlines serving a very limited number of airports,
- Increasing significantly the European geographical area of measurements, thanks to many new routes/airports targeted by business and regional aviation,
- provide valuable and cost attractive weather information service to business and regional aviation pilots in return for their provision of in-situ measurements.
The main objective of this project is to develop the PLANET2 platform (inclusive of on-board units and ground segment), and to validate the service through a pilot phase with potential customers.
Provide an innovative and competitive commercial solution based on:
- Higher number of in-situ measurements made available to weather agencies thanks to new routes added by business and regional aviation,
- Cost attractive weather information service to business and regional aviation pilots in return for their provision of in-situ measurements,
- Potential support of other added value applications such as aircraft health monitoring.
The PLANET2 system will implement the following main features:
- Before the flight, a complete weather briefing (e.g. significant weather and wind aloft charts of destination aerodrome), will be accessed via terrestrial networks (LTE, 3G, or GPRS, depending on availability),
- During the flight the following data will be received and transmitted at regular intervals by the aircraft via satellite communication means (e.g. Iridium):
- Updates of destination aerodrome weather conditions, weather hazards objects (Convection Nowcast) and PIREPS (Pilot Reports),
- Tracking of aircraft location, air temperature and pressure data.
- During the descent phase, air pressure and temperature will be sampled at a faster rate and compiled in a descent profile observation report that will be sent through terrestrial networks just after landing.
As shown in the architecture diagram below, the main actors are:
- Airspace users for weather products or messaging services,
- Weather Agencies, who receive in-situ measurements and PIREPs and provide weather products,
- Flight Operators for monitoring and messaging services,
- Civil Aviation Authority as providers of Aeronautical Information Service (AIS).
The following challenges are expected:
- To obtain the Electro-Magnetic Interference qualification, required for flight demonstrations on “business-like” flight research aircraft,
- Validation of state-of-the art meteo objects, which allow satellite bandwidth saving and easy interpretation by the pilot.
The Final review of the PLANET2 project activities and the System Acceptance Tests of the CCN#1 activities, which were kicked-off in July 2013 in order to obtain the ETSO (European Technical Standard Order) certification by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) of the PLANET2 avionic and to provide faster satellite communication means (e.g. IRIDIUM RUDICS) to allow the provision of in-flight state-of-the-art meteorological SATELLITE and RADAR products, were both successfully held on 17th December 2013 pending the completion of a few actions.
In March 2014 the ETSO certification of the PLANET2 avionic unit was released by EASA.
Atmosphere-F has been providing the service to Safire, the French operator of environmental research aircraft active in atmospheric chemistry since 2012, and has further agreed with DLR for an additional 12-month service in 2014.
The Final review of CCN#1 activities was successfully achieved in May 2014