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European skies soon to get maximal airspace coverage with a new collaborative ground station network.

Updated: Mar 3

The latest results of our eConspicuity survey confirm once again that safety is a top priority in today's increasingly complex air traffic environment. Since 2021, SafeSky has been committed to addressing this challenge through innovation and collaboration.

 

Today, we're thrilled to announce the set-up of a widespread ground station network across Europe, facilitated by SafeSky and driven by national and local aviation organisations.


This project – called “AERO network” – marks the largest collaborative effort in general aviation safety to date.


Traffic captured and range of the ground station installed in Mechelen (BE).
 

Why this initiative? Significant gaps in air traffic monitoring.


At the heart of this initiative is the urgent need to reduce the risk of mid-air collisions. Traditional "see and avoid" methods have proven insufficient, particularly with the emergence of faster and newer aircraft types.


Source: SafeSky eConspicuity Survey 2024.

Existing crowd-sourced ground station platforms are expensive and suffer from erratic hardware and software installations. This creates a lack of traffic precision and reliability. While useful for ground monitoring and plane spotting, they lack seamless integration for in-flight traffic information for pilots and also suffer from interoperability issues as they focus solely on ADS-B and a few MLAT traffic. (Reminder: ADS-B equips less than 10% of General Aviation in Europe.)


From an Air Traffic Control (ATC) standpoint, air traffic below 1000 feet and outside controlled airspace or in the vicinity of aerodromes often goes undetected by secondary radars, effectively rendering it invisible. This represents a significant gap in air traffic surveillance.


These challenges call for a major collaborative effort among all parties involved in air safety, which now becomes a reality with the « AERO network » project.


 

Parties involved in this initiative and their roles:

Partner

Role

Co-developing the most advanced ground station

National and local instances

Leading the implementation

European flight instances

Supporting the initiative

SafeSky

Overall facilitator

Pilots

Engaging actively in the transformation

1.    AVIONIX, SafeSky and OGN: co-developing the most advanced ground station.

 

AVIONIX partnered with SafeSky and Open Glider Network to develop the most advanced ground traffic reception station: the Avionix openAir multitrack All-in-one Receiver.


This solution is plug-and-play, "state of the art," and affordable. The station collects traffic data from various radio systems like ADS-B, FLARM, OGN-Tracker, PilotAware, FANET, ADS-L, and more, alongside some recreational drones with Remote ID. Additionally, traffic within the range of at least 4 ground stations is multilaterated, allowing to see Mode-S traffic as well.

 

The ground station directly transmits this data to both OGN and SafeSky networks, offering real-time information to pilots via the free SafeSky app and all other compatible navigation softwares and hardwares.

 


Tristan FILY, CEO SafeSky: “Our belief in the power of collaboration drives our approach since our very beginning. We've taken on a federating role, bringing together industry stakeholders and their technologies. Today, we go one step further: serving as a facilitator between developers, federations, national institutions, and local clubs.”

2.    National and local instances: leading the initiative.

Federations, clubs and organisations are in the driver’s seat of this initiative, taking on their responsibility and demonstrating dedication to fostering a culture of safety within their respective aviation community.

 

Their role is to implement the network in practise. This involves decision-making, funding, equipment, installation and maintenance of the ground stations, in a collaborative effort.

 

They enjoy the strategic support from European flight instances such as EASA, EMF and Europe Air Sports.


"The partnership signed by OGN, SafeSky and Avionix is deemed as quite positive, for establishing an efficient interoperability solution."

Andrea Anesini, Europe Air Sports President

 

Who's already leading the way?

Initiatives in Belgium, Norway, France, and Spain are already underway, demonstrating their willingness to taking the lead and setting an example in improving air safety.


Joint initiative from Belgian aviation federations.
 

What are we collectively aiming for?

Together, by aggregating radio signals and making them available through various platforms and apps, we want to achieve significant improvements in air traffic visibility and safety for all pilots. Additionally, air traffic controllers will benefit from free access to live air traffic data.

Challenges persist as we move forward. Aircraft without transmitters will remain invisible. Therefore, further efforts will have to be made to encourage visibility compliance among all pilots and deploying additional ground stations.

 
3.    Pilots engage actively in the transformation.

🤲 Join the SafeSky and AERO network initiative: Let’s create a safer sky, together.

TO ALL PILOTS: your contribution is crucial in our collective journey towards safer skies over Europe.

This initiative is led by pilots, for pilots. It's more than just technology; it's about community, collaboration, and taking proactive steps to ensure our skies are safe for everyone. We invite you to play a pivotal role in this transformation.

HOW? Engage with your local flying clubs and federations to discuss the installation of an openair ground station at your home airfield. By volunteering for this initiative, you are not only enhancing your safety but also contributing to a larger vision where every pilot benefits from real-time air traffic visibility. This traffic is available when you're airborne through the free SafeSky App or any of the many other compatible software and hardware options.

 

Appendix:


  • Datasheet openAir Multitrack

Datasheet_openAir_multitrack-4
.pdf
Download PDF • 650KB

  • SafeSky ground station project presentation

Ground Station EN(light)
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.59MB

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