Ensuring air traffic security with Safran Engineering Services
Several thousand aircraft land and take off every day at American airports. Onboard and ground surveillance systems are used to pinpoint aircraft in the sky and during taxing phases, thereby securing flightpaths. One such device used is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast Out (ADS-B Out). Confirming the reliability of the system, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided to make it compulsory in all airspace controlled by the United States in the run-up to 2020. "Business jet owners and operators are on the lookout for reliable and high-performance solutions to bring their aircraft into line with this regulatory development," explains Miguel Prieto, Sales and Business Development Manager at Safran Engineering Services. "In order to cater to this need, we formed a partnership with Duncan Aviation in November 2014. This American company is one of the global leaders in modification and maintenance services for business jets."
From development to certification
In order to incorporate an ADS-B Out system into aircraft in service, it is necessary to get additional certification, or a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), from the FAA. Within the framework of the partnership, Safran Engineering Services, a subsidiary of Labinal Power Systems (Safran) specialized in high-tech engineering solutions, drew up a procedure for installing the system, plans and test protocols, both on the ground and in the air, and coordinated the entire certification and approval process with the FAA. Duncan Aviation is providing its expertise in business jets and infrastructure – namely three plants specialized in maintenance, repair and overhaul operations as well as twenty satellite sites in the United States. Its teams will be tasked with installing and testing the new ADS-B Out system on board aircraft.
Towards new business models
The solution will be ready to receive FAA approval for certain aircraft families sometime between now and the end of the first quarter of 2015. Other types of aircraft should be added to the list during the second quarter. "Our teams of engineers have a wealth of experience in carrying out this kind of modification, but this is the first time we've been both the designers and owners of a solution boasting an STC," explains Miguel Prieto. This partnership provides us with an opportunity to develop new business models." The outlook is good for Safran Engineering Services, both in Europe, where the Single European Sky* project will make the installation of ADS-B Out systems compulsory in the run-up to 2020, and in Asia, where several countries have already made the system compulsory in their airspace.
* The Single European Sky project was initiated in 1999 by the European Commission in order to increase airspace and consolidate the effectiveness and security of air traffic as a whole.
How ADS-B Out is securing the sky
The ADS-B Out surveillance system fitted onboard aircraft works by automatically transmitting the aircraft's GPS position along with other information, such as course, speed, and altitude, once every second. Infrastructures on the ground receive this information and send it to air-traffic controllers, providing them with real-time information pertaining to the position and trajectory of all types of airborne aircraft fitted with the system. This information can also be received by nearby aircraft fitted with an ADS-B "In" system. Pilots and air-traffic controllers can use this data to gain a better visibility of aircraft both on the ground and in the sky.