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5 key take-aways from the "SafeSky experiment" at L’Ile de la Réunion.

Updated: Mar 3

The "SafeSky experiment" conducted at L’Ile de la Réunion (France) by the "Direction de la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile Océan Indien" (DSAC OI) over three months, starting on October 14, 2023, revealed its first results on February 16, 2024.


Heat map showing flight concentration at Réunion

Pilots on "La Réunion" face particular unique safety challenges associated with its island nature, primarily because the majority of flights cater to tourism activities.. Common identical flight routes and a single radio frequency lead to massive saturation. The environmental topology also negatively affects radio frequency quality, as evident in the radio extract below.

These issues collectively contribute to an overall sense of danger for all pilots.

🔊 Radio extract 🔊

The "SafeSky experiment".

The experiment aimed to assess the SafeSky App's effectiveness in addressing the air safety challenges of Réunion Island. With voluntary participation, it engaged over 150 pilots, representing the majority in the territory, most of whom were flying 3-axis aircraft. While many pilots installed and used SafeSky, not all continued, a typical observation in a change adoption curve.

5 key take-aways from User experience:

SafeSky is well-suited for Réunion's complex flying conditions, including dense air traffic, the absence of ATS and radar, challenging terrain causing VHF shadowing, and the touristic environment.

SafeSky has demonstrated utility in various scenarios, such as conflict resolution, formation/group flights, and reduced reliance on the busy 123.5 MHz frequency.

Additional SafeSky benefits include accessibility, being free and user-friendly, potential coupling with simple transmitting devices, analysis opportunities from recorded traces and relevance in search & rescue.

The island's good network reception makes it suitable for mobile in-flight solutions.

SafeSky can facilitate pilots' safety in clearly announcing converging traffic when the radio frequency is not or poorly audible. ⤵️

Challenges and opportunities for enhancement.

The experimentation highlighted some functional challenges such as battery consumption, support suitability, and network coverage. Additionally, software refinement and addressing the absence of specific traffic, particularly helicopters, were identified as areas for improvement.

It appeared that most of the mentioned challenges were already tackled with a number of existing and future solutions:

Problem statement

Proposed solution

Deficient radio frequency

Utilisation of SafeSky

Absence of helicopters in SafeSky traffic

Installation of 8 ground stations (see below)

Doubts about network coverage quality

Confirmation of satisfying mobile network

Lacking knowledge of all SafeSky functionalities

Organisation of future educational sessions

Unnecessary alerts when flying in squadron

No longer the case in upcoming V3


General conclusion.

"When used effectively, SafeSky is a major contribution to flight safety, particularly in the island’s context. The use of 'electronic visibility' devices is to be promoted and gradually integrated in a manner suited to our practices. The system relies on the integration of the highest number possible." (Regional ULM Committee of Reunion Island)
"No system will replace the "see and be seen" principle, but all real-time safety-contributing information provided to pilots helps to mitigate the risk—this is the essence." (FFPLUM)

Next steps.


  • Additional investment – the DSAC OI intends to install 8 ground stations to enhance protocol reception. A new three-month SafeSky experiment will be launched afterwards to collect fresh insights.

  • Change management – Recognising the time and investment needed for change adoption, the DSAC OI plans to provide educational support for pilots and instructors and to promote the use of electronic visibility devices in aviation practices.

  • SafeSky's role SafeSky commits to supporting DSAC OI with easily addressable questions. The upcoming V3 will also introduce solutions such as cancelling alerts during formation flights.


Check out the full results:

SAFESKY - REX experimentation Ile Reunion
Download PDF • 2.70MB


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