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FLYSAFE – new flight safety initiative moves forward

The FLYSAFE project, launched in February 2005, held its first formal review on 18-19 October in Toulouse. The project will conceive, develop and validate new onboard and ground systems for supplying detailed meteorological and other safety information to aircraft.

Flying above the clouds © Peter Gutierrez
Flying above the clouds
© Peter Gutierrez

In view of the predicted trebling of flights from 2000 to 2020, air safety remains a major research priority for the European Commission, guided by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE).

Retained in 2004 and launched in February 2005 under the European Commission’s Sixth Research and Development Framework Programme, FLYSAFE is a four-year, initiative gathering 36 partners, coordinated by Thales. Specific aims include:

  • Definition of a configurable Human-Machine Interface, presenting in an integrated way and in real time the potential risks during a flight;
  • Precise and detailed onboard visualisation of other aircraft;
  • Terrain and obstacle presentations that fit pilot needs during every flight phase;
  • Presentation of more precise and detailed information on atmospheric disturbances: thunderstorms, icing conditions, clear air turbulences, wake vortices and volcanic ash.

All systems will have the same aim: to provide better information on the flying environment to pilots in a better way, i.e. without increasing pilots’ workload.

About Thales

Thales Group is a leading international electronics and systems company serving defence, aerospace, security and services markets. It employs 60 000 people throughout the world and generated revenues of €10.3 billion in 2004.

Detailed atmospheric information covering continental, regional and local conditions will be generated by new ground-based systems to be developed by national meteorological institutes, such as Meteo France and the UK Met Office, and by independent research centres. A common platform bringing together all new elements will be assembled in Toulouse and then tested in a simulator located in Amsterdam. Flight-testing will assess the performance of some sub-systems and ergonomics.

FLYSAFE has total budget of €53 million, with €29 million being provided by the European Commission. Partners are committed to an ambitious plan for exploiting their results, individually and collectively in both European and other markets.