Air traffic is expected to triple world-wide within the next 20 years. With the existing onboard and on-ground systems, this would lead to an increase of aircraft accidents, in the same, or a higher proportion. Despite the fact that accidents are rare, this increase is perceived as unacceptable by society and new systems and solutions must be found to maintain the number of accidents at its current low level. As safety of flight depends to a large extent on flight crew actions it is essential that crew members are supplied with reliable information that can be used at all times. FLYSAFE has contributed to this goal in developing the required new systems allowing the crew to make the right decision to avoid conflicts caused by weather, traffic and terrain.
FLYSAFE has been the first decisive big step towards the 'VISION 2020' produced by the ACARE, for safety in flight operations. It has designed, developed, implemented, tested and validated a complete Next Generation Integrated Surveillance System (NG ISS), going a decisive step further than the emerging integrated safety systems.
FLYSAFE focused particularly on the areas identified as the main types of accidents around the world:
- loss of control,
- controlled flight into terrain, and
- approach and landing accidents.
It has addressed three types of threats:
- adverse weather conditions,
- traffic hazards, and
- terrain hazards.
For each of them it has developed new systems and functions, notably:
- improved situation awareness,
- advance warning,
- alert prioritisation, and
- enhanced human-machine interface.
FLYSAFE has also developed solutions to enable aircraft to retrieve timely, dedicated, improved weather information, by means of a set of Weather Information Management Systems (WIMS). These WIMS are able to gather, format and send to the aircraft all essential atmospheric data, as relevant for the safety and efficiency of their flight. This uplinked data has been be presented in an innovative and consistent way to the crew. Innovative prediction capabilities have been deployed, both on board of the aircraft and on the ground, to provide warnings which are optimised with respect to the simultaneous constraints of safety and airspace capacity.
The project started with a review of the results of past and on-going investigation of accidents and incidents, the identification of contributing causes, and the definition of ways to address them.
The results of this analysis was then used to set up new, high level functional requirements and feed the pilot evaluation tasks with scenarios that were used to assess new versus state-of-the-art technologies.
The three main types of hazards sources for aviation: adverse atmospheric conditions, traffic and terrain, have led to the creation of three project branches, with a fourth branch dedicated to the development of the Next Generation Integrated Surveillance System itself with the integration of the design solutions.
'Atmospheric hazards' developed means to increase the awareness and fidelity onboard aircraft with regard to all major sources of atmospheric hazards (wake vortex, windshear, clear air turbulence, icing, and thunderstorm).
'Traffic hazards' developed means to increase the crew traffic situation awareness and provide them with early information on potential traffic hazards along the flight path.
'Terrain information management' developed means to increase the crew terrain and obstacle situation awareness and provide them with the terrain and obstacle hazards along the flight path and functionalities that enable the crew to avoid conflict with terrain and obstacles.
As part of the NG ISS, innovative system functions were developed, notably:
- Strategic data consolidation to anticipate any identified strategic risks related to atmospheric phenomena, traffic and terrain, along the planned flight path of the aircraft. This function is to reduce the number of tactical alerts generated inside the cockpit by anticipating those threats and advising the crew where a replanning is required.
- Tactical alert management to help the crew to manage all alerts generated by the 'safety net' functions, such as TCAS, TAWS, and windshear, i.e. for those situations where an immediate response is required.
- Intelligent Crew Support to provide support for the crew in the event that they may make an error or a mistake caused by high workload, fatigue, anxiety, etc., by monitoring flight phase, environment and crew actions.
Standardisation activities were undertaken for the introduction and promotion of future products, thus reducing the time to market. The certification aspects of these new c
The project culminated with the production of a complete safety-related integrated system (NG ISS), embodying all the innovations, connected to a test bed allowing us to activate it, run simulations and to evaluate the safety gains obtainable by future marketable systems based on those features.
The Weather Information Management Systems (WIMS) were a key outcome from the project. They have been validated in the project in support of the NG ISS. They might be used to enhance both the safety and efficiency of air transport through their use for provision of services to other stake-holders in the air transport sector (ATC, airport operators and airlines).
Flight test results were used to validate the complete chain of weather information processing (aircraft atmospheric data, downlink, WIMS and routine data, uplink, weather data fusion) and to populate a weather database to be used during the full simulation evaluation.
All these results contributed to achieving the ACARE goal of reducing the rate of accidents by 80% within 20 years.