GRICAS: final in-flight tests - a common work to improve commercial aviation safety

Monday, March 26 2018
On February, 20th 2018, GRICAS consortium, conducts the final tests of the automatic in-flight activation of the GRICAS distress beacon, a demonstrator of the Cospas-Sarsat ELT(DT)

Published on Gricas-gsa-projet.eu, March 2018.

Read the PDF file

After an intense and successful in-flight test campaign performed during 2017, GRICAS project team completed the tests with an exceptional flight test hosted by ASECNA in Dakar, Senegal.

For this occasion, GRICAS consortium members received the support of Mr. Mohamed MOUSSA, General Director of ASECNA, and Mr. Jean-Yves LEGALL, President of CNES and President of Administration board of GSA, who participated to the flight test.

The GRICAS end-to-end demonstrator of an Autonomous Distress Tracking system based on Cospas-Sarsat distress beacon was fitted on-board the test aircraft: the ASECNA ATR 42 and after successful ground tests, demonstrated the compliance of GRICAS solution to ICAO recommendations and EUROCAE specifications for an Autonomous Distress Tracking system.

GRICAS end-to-end demonstrator is composed of:

  • An ELT-DT prototype (distress tracking) based on a Second Generation COSPAS-SARSAT distress beacon representative of what a real ELT-DT could be and integrating a GNSS chipset TESEO III, Galileo and GPS compatible.

  • A remote control panel for the ELT(DT) similar to the existing remote control panels for ELT present in the cockpits.

  • An on-board demonstration platform emulating the Beacon Activation Logic and then sending the automatic triggering commands to the beacon and the GNSS receiver of the avionics. The ODP also provides the logging functions and the GNSS reference trajectory.

  • A L-band MEOLUT  implementing a SGB real-time processing software

It was the first time a demonstrator representative of what a Cospas-Sarsat ELT(DT) could be, was activated automatically on-board a commercial aviation aircraft.

One of the scenarios was based on an altitude threshold representative of a distress scenario: when the aircraft went beyond the threshold altitude considered as unusual for a flight altitude, the automatic activation of the beacon sending an alert message to inform the SAR responders of the in-flight distress could be demonstrated.

The beacon transmitted an alert message, received and processed by the GRICAS MEOLUT localized in Thales Alenia Space facilities in Toulouse and the French commissioned MEOLUT localized in CNES facilities in Toulouse as well, more than 3600km far from Dakar. The detection probability for the tests was close to 100%, knowing that current Cospas-Sarsat specification requires a detection probability of 95%.

Moreover, the localization performances are also excellent and significantly better than the specification Cospas-Sarsat T.019 of 5km at 95%.

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