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Small Aircraft Future Avionics Architecture

European Union
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€7 410 073
EU Contribution
€4 700 000
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

The long-term, ultimate goal of the consortium carrying out this project is to introduce new and innovative technologies into the small aircraft aviation segment; everything from avionics, navigation up to aircraft manufacturing. This will be a completely new transportation system for small aircraft which will make it more available to everyone and should provide safe, "green" and affordable air transportation even under denser air traffic and more complex ATC in the future.


SAFAR will focus on the development of a future avionics architecture for small aircraft providing easy and safe control of the aircraft. SAFAR aims at a significant reduction of pilot workload and an increase of safety during all phases of flight and ground operations including take-off and landing. In order to achieve this, SAFAR will provide the aircraft with easy handling characteristics and flight envelope protection at any time. The pilot flies the aircraft mainly via a stick controller and throttle lever. Switching between flight control and flight guidance modes will be performed automatically by the system: transparent for the pilot.

Within the SAFAR project the consortium will set first steps in the direction of design, development and validation of an avionics architecture for future small aircraft (safe, cost efficient, extentable and scalable) which will lead the way for advanced low capacity air transportation (LCAT) systems.

Baseline of the SAFAR architecture will be an advanced safety critical, fault tolerant fly-by-wire platform applicable to LCAT aircraft. The platform will comprise computing resources, a human machine interface, a mainly satellite based fault tolerant attitude/navigation system and a safety critical electric power supply with all-electric actuators. In order to keep the handling characteristics of the aircraft as easy as possible and to avoid any pilot training cases, the fly-by-wire platform must maintain the same handling characteristics and flight protection features even in cases of platform failures. Significant functional degradations in the handling characteristics such as degradation to "direct law" are not acceptable. This requires an all time / full performance / full authority fly-by-wire platform without any mechanical backup. In order to cope with the challenge of "low-cost" for the LCAT category, synergies with advanced absolutely safety critical drive-by-wire platforms with 10E-9 safety capability from automotive developments based on fly-by-wire experience will be used.

All Electric
The fly-by-wire platform will be developed as a safety critical all electric platform including all electric actuation. Therefore, new absolute safety critical electric power generation / distribution including strategies providing safe E-powerstorage in cases of emergency descent due to total engine loss (no ram air turbine will be used) including mechanisms for continuous accurate diagnostics of energy storage will be investig


Long Term Perspective
First it has to be understood which role small aircraft will play in air transportation in the future, how they will be embedded in future air traffic control and management, and which technologies will be available to guarantee their efficient and safe operations. Therefore SAFAR will start in WP100 (Future Small Aircraft Transportation System) with a comprehensive analysis of missions for small aircraft, requested functionality, availability of technologies, system concepts and a clear characterisation of society induced aspects such as individual mobility, environmental conditions, noise pollution, and high level safety requirements which leads directly to systems and operations requirements for small aircraft.

Avionics Fundamentals
Based on these requirements the work in SAFAR will now in a second step focus on the avionics fundamentals for small aircraft performing the tasks concept definition – design & prototyping – validation & certification. In WP200 (Small Aircraft Future Avionics Concept) a comprehensive blueprint of future avionics of small aircraft will be drawn taking into account the aspects of all electric aircraft, fly-by-wire flight control system and an innovative sensor, navigation and communication package including a safety assessment of these components.

WP300 (Small Aircraft Future Avionics Design & Prototyping) follows straight forward with design and prototyping of a failure redundant fly-by-wire platform and the corresponding sensor package for navigation and communication. Appropriate control laws will be developed via test flights with a validation aircraft (V-plane) and incorporated in the flight control system on the top of the fly-by-wire platform. On a test rig (iron bird) all components are to be integrated and their functional behaviour is tested.

In WP400 (Small Aircraft Future Avionics Verification & Inflight Tests) the relevant hardware and software is tested on a 6-DOF simulator, than integrated in the V-plane and tested on the ground. Finally in-flight validation of the SAFAR avionics in terms of handling quality, control characteristics and automatic reconfiguration in case of failures will be performed. This closes the work on the avionics technology fundamentals for small aircraft.

In WP500 (Future Small Aircraft Transportation System Implementation) it will be analysed how the SAFAR small aircraft avionics architecture can contribute to the future of air transportation


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Lead Organisation
Cassidian Airborne Solutions Gmbh
Sebaldsbrucker Heerstrasse 235, 28309 Bremen, Germany
Partner Organisations
Honeywell International Sro
V PARKU 2325/16 CHODOV, 148 00 PRAHA, Czechia
EU Contribution
€368 620
Septentrio Nv
Interleuvenlaan 15G, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
EU Contribution
€483 220
Rheinmetall Defence Electronics
Brueggeweg 54, 28309 BREMEN, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€1 034 895
Universitaet Paderborn
Warburger Strasse 100, 33098 Paderborn, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€1 093 250
Dfs Deutsche Flugsicherung Gmbh
Am DFS-Campus 10, 63225 LANGEN, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€185 170
Diamond Aircraft Industries Gmbh
Nikolaus August Otto-Strasse 5, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€498 500
Technische Universiteit Delft
STEVINWEG 1, 2628 CN DELFT, Netherlands
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€683 963
Gmv Aerospace And Defence S.a.
Isaac Newton - P.T.M. 11, 28760 Tres Cantos - Madrid, Spain
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€352 382


Technology Theme
Cabin and cockpit design
Cockpit-based technologies for improved pilot workflow
Development phase

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