SkyLiberty is a service delivered by ESNAH, which aims to offer a safer and easier flight experience for pilots, while also making them more effective.
ESNAH’s vision is based on reliable connectivity links between aviation stakeholders (e.g. Pilots, Air Traffic Control, Weather information providers, flying schools, maintenance centres) allowing an easy, reliable, secure and cheap access to information to everyone at any time of a flight.
To implement this vision, ESNAH provides pilots and aircrafts operators with a Software as a Service solution (Apps & Web app) coupled with a smart tracking device.
Users and their needs
The SkyLiberty service users belong to 3 main categories, which have the following respective needs:
- Communication with operator and ATC
- Provision of real-time aeronautical information during flight
- Provision of real-time status of the aircraft before arriving at the airport
- Provision of a satellite phone access during flight
Air Training Organisations (ATO)
- Notification of abnormal aircraft procedure during flight
- Monitoring of aircraft on the ground
- Sharing information concerning aircraft real time status with all qualified pilot (Defect report, aircraft status, flight log)
- 2-way communication with pilot in real-time
- Notification if an aircraft makes an airspace infringement
- Implementation of a virtual black box on the aircraft
- Need to have pilots paying their flights more rapidly
Air Traffic Control (ATC)
- Improvement of communication with general aviation aircraft in airspace without authorization, with incorrect frequency or radio failure in order to reduce airspace infringement and improve safety
- Monitoring the greatest possible amount of vehicles presenting a possible collision risks during aviation operations
All of the aviation aid systems currently on the market only deal with one aspect of the flight (for instance a logbook, a navigator,…) and there is not yet a comprehensive tool, which can be affordable for everyone. ESNAH has therefore decided to create a single product that meets both the needs of operators, pilots and airplanes operations.
While SkyLiberty will be initially deployed in Europe, the service ambitions to acquire in the longer term an international customers portfolio.
Service/ system concept
SkyLiberty is based on 3 main building blocks, working either separately or together, hence offering a higher added-value to the users.
SkyLink is the cellular/satellite gateway connected if possible with the aircraft avionics and usable by
- operators to track, record/analyse flight and exchange message via SkyOperator
- pilots to retrieve aeronautical information and exchange messages via SkyUser or via the screen of SkyLink
- air traffic control to send urgent messages to pilots with acknowledgement features.
SkyOperator is the management platform of the operator to
- manage, track and anticipate maintenance of an aircraft
- manage members and student pilots
- improve safety and reduce airspace infringement
SkyUser is an application (mobile and web) for pilots allowing to:
- exchange information during flight
- be connected with an operator to book an aircraft and be aware about aircraft real time status
- communicate with air traffic control and aircraft operator. On the ground, it can use Wi-Fi or cellular. During flight, it can connect to SkyLink to exchange information through cellular or satellite network.
- access a VFR/IFR navigator including all recommendations of aeronautical safety, in order to:
- improve flight preparation and knowledge of aircraft defect report
- retrieve all the necessary information in real time during the flight
- reduce the number of air space infringements
- decrease fuel consumption through optimal routing
Space Added Value
SkyLiberty requires a high accuracy geolocation system. GNSS data is 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.
Moreover, above 2000 feet (600m), the GPRS network is not available for pilots who can therefore no longer obtain real-time data during the flight via phone networks. SkyLiberty offers therefore to use satellite communication (Iridium) to allow internet connection and share real-time information according to the services proposed.
Weather satellite imagery provides pilots with a clear visualisation of the enroute weather, which is the most dangerous environmental factor during the flight.
Since the Critical Design Review (CDR) which took place at ESTEC in February 2019, the ESNAH team has been working on the production of a number of prototypes, which have been extensively tested and have received a pre-certification based on a number of aeronautical standards. An intensive campaign of tests has been performed, which has been concluded by the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) review meeting.
In particular, the FAT meeting included a final navigation test, which took place between 20 May 2019 and 24 May 2019. The SkyLink device and associated web-based tracking application have been used by an ESNAH-ESA flight crew across Europe (including Santander (Spain), Faro (Portugal), Fuerteventura (Canary Islands - Spain), Agadir and Nador (Morocco), Ibiza (Spain), Besançon (France) and Charleroi (Belgium). During these inflight tests, the full SkyLiberty service chain proved to be extremely reliable, even while flying over desertic or wide maritime areas. This now clears ESNAH for the production of the SkyLink device at commercial scale. The next milestone will be the Site Acceptance Tests (SAT) around September 2019, which will investigate the performance of the service along a real user scenario.
Caption: Monitoring performance of the SkyLink device during flight
Caption: inflight tests above the Atlantic ocean