Research Questions

How can GA be better integrated into the SESAR Concept by selecting appropriate CNS/ATM equipage?

Research Scope

The AGATHA project addresses the challenge of seamlessly integrating General Aviation into the SESAR Concept. The existing gap between Commercial Air Transportation and General Aviation in terms of CNS/ATM level of equipment and concept of operations may prevent harmonization of the European ATM system. Technology innovation and adaptation for the GA sector is needed – this has so far been little considered by the SESAR program.

The main objective of the AGATHA project is to consider the feasibility for the General Aviation world of using promising wireless technology innovations to support a wide variety of CNS/ATM applications and concepts defined or derived from SESAR ConOps to allow aircraft to safely operate in a “connected” mode.

Expected Results

The expected research results are refined concept of operations, definition of priority applications for GA in particular exploring latest wireless technology R&D activities. The project will develop a future system architecture to evaluate its capacity to support a wide variety of CNS/ATM applications and evaluate operational benefits for airfields and airports. With the majority of operations being conducted under visual flight rules (VFR) and in visual meteorological conditions, GA activities require large portions of the airspace (particularly in the low airspace structure) but also access to airports. If closely controlled airspace, especially in busy terminal areas, is designed primarily for high speed IFR traffic, slower VFR traffic also requires timely, safe and efficient access to these areas, should they be major or peripheral reliever airports. Preservation of these accesses in the future is a major concern to the GA community. The study will also address the En-Route (ENR) sector so as to consider General Aviation operations end-to-end.

Note that not all SESAR operational concepts and resulting CNS/ATM applications are relevant to GA. In particular costs and architectural/installation constraints are an important consideration. Therefore, SESAR capable solutions avoiding multiplication of on-board equipments while ensuring interoperability with the ATM system will be investigated. The project starts with a consultation phase with relevant stakeholders from the GA and ATM communities such as SJU GA/R working group, GA operators and associations, small airport operators, SJU and relevant SESAR WP coordinators.

Finally, AGATHA will use analysis or simulations applied to the different operational scenarios that include GA aircraft equipped with and operating the proposed CNS/ATM technologies.

Future research activities may include prototyping of airborne multi-wireless technology capable systems, validation through lab testing (wide-scale system emulation) and live experiment, experiment of GA i4D operations, experiment of weather applications suited for GA, etc.