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Safe Automatic Flight Back and Landing of Aircraft


The solution proposed in EC FP6 SAFEE (Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment) and developed by SOFIA, the Flight Reconfiguration Function (FRF), is a technological response of the industry to the social demand of increasing the security i n the air transport after the September 11th terrorist attacks. It is also a technological development coping with the aims of the "Ultra Secure Air Transport System" concept developed by ACARE in its Second Strategic Research Agenda.

As a continuation of the SAFEE works on FRF, SOFIA will design architectures for integrating the FRF system into several typologies of avionics for civil transport aircraft; develop one of this architectures; validate the FRF concept and the means to integrate it in the current ATM; assess the safety of FRF at aircraft and operational (ATC) levels. Therefore FRF will take the control of the aircraft and will manage to safely return it to ground upon a security emergency (e.g. hijacking), disabling the control and command of the aircraft from the cockpit. It will also execute a new flight plan towards a secure airport and land the aircraft at it. The flight plan can be generated in ground or in a military airplane and transmitted to the aircraft, or created autonomously at the own FRF system.

The execution of the new flight plan is autonomously performed by FRF without any control from ground. FRF also allows performing station keeping with a military aircraft. Additionally, SOFIA will investigate the integration of such solution into different airspace environments: current ATM, ASAS/ADS-B, airspace with/without radar coverage, 4D trajectory negotiation... SOFIA will validate FRF by using a platform composed of an ATC facility and a flight cabin simulator (upgrade of the one used in SAFEE SP3) linked, and by performing flight trials with real aircraft. The SOFIA consortium is a well- balanced and skilled set of 9 organizations from 7 countries across Europe, with SME.

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