SkyLiberty Aeronautical Navigation Support Service

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:

  • Improve flight safety by providing to pilots reliable data and tools compliant with all safety recommendations currently in force
  • Provide a single comprehensive application with a rigorous methodology for navigation preparation.
  • Contribute to the reduction of fuel consumption for light aircrafts and be engaged in sustainable development of aviation.

Users and their needs

The SkyLiberty service users (and customers) belong primarily to the following two categories:

  • General aviation pilots (student pilots and private pilots). Ultimately, SkyLiberty could also be used by commercial pilots.
  • Aviation Training Operators (ATOs) and flying clubs.

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:

  • An intuitive and easy but reliable access to navigation (aeronautical, geographical, meteorological and aeronautical regulations) data.
  • A system compliant with all national authorities associate to airspaces where pilot may have to fly
  • A real-time solution provided at an acceptable cost

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).

Service/ system concept

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:

  • Flight preparation: management of flight license and medical certificate validity, visualisation of Aeronautical Information Publications (AIP), weather assessment, aircraft status assessment, flight planning, collection of handling information, community knowledge and sharing information, etc.
  • Flight execution: navigation aid, weather assessment, real-time aeronautical information, fuel flow management, etc.
  • After the flight: logbook management, aircraft flight book management, aircraft statistical data compilation, payment, experience sharing, etc.

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:

  • Aircraft operator (e.g. flying clubs, Aviation training Organisations) to receive real-time information and communicate with an inflight aircraft.
  • To send flight notification to the families and relatives of passengers.
  • Perform smart tracking of any aircraft equipped.
  • Provide reliable statistical data about the flown aircraft to pilots.

SkyLink Device - Prototype during Flight testing

Space Added Value

➡   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.

Current Status

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.

 

Prime Contractor

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Nicolas Hanse
Château Jadot
Rue du commerce 19
BE-6900 Marche-En-Famenne
Belgium

ESA Project Manager

Arnaud Runge
ESA/ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1
2200 AG Noordwijk ZH
Netherlands

Status Date

Updated: 03 November 2016 - Created: 06 September 2016