SAFELAND is a two-and-a-half-year SESAR project launched in July 2020 with 9 different project partners from across Europe. The SAFELAND project’s objective is to assist the flight and landing of a single-piloted aircraft in the case of partial or total incapacitation of the pilot.
Hereby, SAFELAND will mainly focus on developing a sensible ground support concept, and in particular on the role ATM could have in managing the transition from a single-pilot-operated flight to a status with reduced or absent contribution of the onboard pilot until the aircraft lands safely.
Within the project, the DLR Institute of Flight Guidance is responsible for developing and exploring a SAFELAND concept of operations (ConOps) in the case of pilot incapacitation for single-pilot operations. In consequence, the concept will dynamically re-assign identified tasks, functions and responsibilities between involved entities (e.g. ATC, airline operations control centre, remote ground pilot). In a next step, the defined SAFELAND concept shall be evaluated by human-in-the-loop (HITL) studies.
In order to support the evaluation trials, DLR is providing two of its aviation simulators. One is the Generic Experimental Cockpit (GECO), which will be adapted to the SAFELAND use case of single-pilot operations and be involved as the operating aircraft during the trials. The other is the existing remote-pilot control station with its application U-Fly, which will act as the remote station for controlling the single-piloted aircraft in the case of pilot incapacitation.
One key criterion during the evaluations will be the interaction and communication between the involved entities (ATC, airline operations control centre, remote pilot, and single-piloted aircraft) and, in particular, the transition phase from single-piloted aircraft to remotely-piloted aircraft. The experimental HITL studies are scheduled to start by November 2021.
Based on the experiences and results obtained during the HITL evaluation studies, the SAFELAND ConOps will be examined, adapted and revised. In consequence, SAFELAND will create a validated ConOps for single-pilot operations in the case of pilot incapacitation, and foster the integration of remotely-piloted aircraft into the existing ATM framework.
This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 890599.
DEEP BLUE SRL (Coordinator)
EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE
EASN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION SERVICES BVBA
EUROUSC ITALIA SRL
SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIR LINES AG