The objectives of the SkyLiberty demonstration project are to develop, qualify and validate an end-to-end service centred around an aeronautical software application able to:
The SkyLiberty service users (and customers) belong primarily to the following two categories:
The preparation of a flight navigation is often quite long and difficult for pilots who have to find out all relevant information in order to perform a safe and efficient flight. The various information required to prepare and select the best flight route includes airspace status and activation, meteorological context, topography to name a few. Pilots will then confront these data to their type of license, experience and qualifications. Obviously, such a work is of course more complicated for low experienced private pilots than for confirmed professional pilots.
Nowadays, a lot of technologies have emerged in aeronautics such as geo-localization systems, smartphones and tablets, which bring a number of benefits (e.g. easy access to data, automated routing) to ease flight preparation. At the same time, such tools also come with potential hazards. For instance, pilots can rely too heavily on such navigation technologies, which for some of them, display ground speed (the speed of the aircraft related to the ground) instead of indicated airspeed (the speed of the aircraft in the air mass) which can stall the aircraft.
Pilots therefore need:
The SkyLiberty service also targets a second category of users including Aviation Training Organisations (ATOs) and flying clubs. Indeed, SkyLiberty offers as a service the possibility to track the position of any aircraft of the fleet in real time as well as to communicate with an inflight aircraft. This allows for instance to track student pilots during their mandatory solo navigations, better adjust aircraft bookings, and provide accurate statistical data about the aircraft utilisation (e.g. to plan maintenance slots for instance).
SkyLiberty relies on 2 main components: the SkyLiberty software application as well as an electronic device named SkyLink.
The application offers different services to the following five stakeholders:
➡ For pilots, several modules of the application can support the end-to-end management of each flight:
The modules are independent but can offer more functionalities when pilots buy several modules.
➡ For aircraft operators: ESNAH will provide a complete tool for aircraft fleet management and flight data analyses. The service will offer operators the possibility to anticipate maintenance and share important information concerning aircraft status and operability among pilots.
➡ For airport operators: SkyLiberty contributes to EASA’s (the European Aviation Safety Agency) safety reports and safety culture. SkyLiberty services aim to reduce light aircraft runway incursions and will improve and facilitate light aircrafts integration into traffic of large airports.
➡ For aviation institutions: the SkyLiberty web interface is a connecting tool between the flight safety manager of a flight school and national institutions (for instance for handling pilot anonymous incident reports).
➡ For general people: SkyLiberty offers several services to passenger using light aircraft transport for leisure or business (e.g. real time following flight for friends and families).
SkyLiberty Application Homepage
The supporting electronic device (SkyLink), is extending the SkyLiberty software solution and allows:
SkyLink Device - Prototype during Flight testing
➡ SkyLiberty requires a high quality of geolocation system. Data are used for avoiding the airspace infringement, detect runway incursion, provide a reliable real time following flight and can be used in high-precision navigation competitions.
➡ Above 2000 feet, the GPRS network is not available for pilots who can therefore no longer obtain real-time data during the flight. SkyLiberty offers to use Satellite communication to allow internet connection and share real-time information according to the services proposed.
Weather satellite imagery provide pilots with a clear visualisation of the enroute weather which is the most dangerous environmental factor during the flight.
The Critical Design Review meeting was held on 04 October 2016 in the new office of ESNAH in Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium). The project passed successfully this step.
The first version of SkyLink is now installed in the Sonaca 200, the aircraft developed by the Belgian company Sonaca, to test SkyLink in real time in several European countries. It is now possible to track this aircraft in real conditions and to view the flights on a map. For now, the tests are a success and SkyLink has already triggered some interest from the people that the Sonaca test pilot has met in these countries.
The development of the SkyLink’s second version is ongoing. At this stage, it is possible to send and receive messages between the ground and the aircraft via Iridium.