How does your phone or tablet 'pick up' the surrounding traffic?

 

The phone or tablet does not pick up the surrounding traffic, it is not a radar!

SafeSky is a mobile application that provides traffic information wherever you are. Thanks to the GPS chip in your mobile device, the SafeSky application sends your position to our servers, which is then transmitted in the same way, but in the opposite direction, to other users of the application. This way, you can share your location with the SafeSky community at any time.

 

How SafeSky works

 

 

The exchange protocol is extremely light and allows the transfer of the position even with a very weak mobile internet connection. While sending an SMS in the air is often a very random feat, SafeSky manages to exchange data with a very weak connection, an EDGE (2G) network is sufficient to exchange the few bytes necessary to share traffic positions in real time.

In addition to the traffic generated by the application itself, SafeSky aggregates traffic information available on the internet, thanks to the numerous ground stations managed and maintained by many individuals, maybe yourself? These stations allow SafeSky to obtain the position of aircrafts transmitting ADS-B, Flarm or OGN signals with a high degree of accuracy. SafeSky collects this valuable information and adds it to its own traffic to keep you informed.

 

 

  • How much traffic is visible on SafeSky?

     

    SafeSky is able to view a large part of the traffic, provided that the traffic transmits its position by any means. This is, unfortunately, not always the case!

    Why does it happen that traffic which can be visually seen is invisible on the application? To answer this question, it is good to recall some basic principles. 

    First of all, if I don't speak, no one can hear me. If I drive at night without headlights, nobody can see me! Obvious. 

    If an aircraft does not use any means on board to transmit its position, NO CURRENT EQUIPMENT is able to display the position of that aircraft (except for a primary radar that would receive the echo of the aircraft). It is required to be equipped with a radio transmitter (ADS-B, Flarm, OGN, Neurons, etc.) to share its position in the air, and a reception system of the TCAS, Flarm or other equivalent type to receive these positions. Without this, you will see traffic in sight, without any alert on your detection devices.

    SafeSky is a simple and effective tool for all types of aircraft: paramotors, planes, gliders, hot air balloons, ... For the first time, SafeSky offers the possibility for all pilots to notice each other in the sky we all share. This is a giant step forward towards greater safety.

    As SafeSky depends on mobile internet, it relies on traffic information detected by ground stations. In short, some aircrafts will remain invisible to SafeSky if:

    • They are not equipped with ADS-B, Flarm or OGN radio equipment
    • The equipment is not switched on during the flight
    • SafeSky is not used
    • There is no mobile internet connection due to the high altitude or a possible white zone (area without mobile internet reception)

    SafeSky can be used in addition to ADS-B out, Flarm, OGN or other systems. It will ensure that you are seen by more pilots, and above all that you can see traffic that is invisible to date, such as "weak sky users" (paramotors, paragliders, etc.).

     

     

  • The plains, mountainous areas and borders

     

    Numerous tests carried out in mountainous regions (French Alps and Pyrenees) have shown that SafeSky is very effective there, thanks to the high position of the antennas ensuring excellent mobile internet coverage. This feature makes it possible to be seen in spite of the rocky massifs that are obstacles to conventional radar. SafeSky is effective up to high flight levels, above FL90.

    On the plains, tests have shown good coverage up to FL45. Nevertheless, SafeSky often pickes up the network much higher. Some parts of the territory are totally inert, due to total absence of mobile internet connection, we call them white zones. Fortunately they are quite rare.

    Crossing borders requires a change of operator, called roaming. Just like in a car, there is a short loss of network while the mobile reconnects to the new operator.

     

     

  • Mode S transponders

    Currently, mode S transponders are only visible to air traffic controllers with secondary radars. This information is not currently shared by aviation administrations. SafeSky is investigating other ways to fill this gap and offer mode S in addition to the protocols listed above.

  • Drones

    The drone market is developing rapidly and decisions are being made very quickly, such as the "U-space" active since January 2021. As with mode S, SafeSky stays in touch with the main players in the market to aggregate this traffic information. SafeSky will then be able to share your position with the drones.