A mobile application for IOS and Windows for airplane and helicopter pilots serving as a navigation assistance tool during flights.
The AP-TECH company came out with a brave vision to break up the monopoly on the market of flight navigation systems for pilots. Currently, flight navigation applications are mostly in the hands of the big international aerospace industry companies like Boeing or Airbus. Their solutions, however, do not fulfill the individual needs of smaller industries using airspace travel such as emergency medical services, transport companies and individual carriers.
We took the challenge of creating an application, that would not only be reliable and as good as the products created by the big corporations, but would also be better and more flexible in terms of new features and adjusting to the users needs. Additionally, the application should integrate and display data from international airspace management institutions, work under extreme conditions, be available on multiple platforms (iOS, Windows) and devices (tablets, desktops) and work offline.
Creating a reliable, multiplatform application aggregating and displaying navigation, weather and topographic data from multiple sources in different forms simultaneously.
“We needed a reliable and adaptive technology that would help us build an efficient multi-platform application and we chose Xamarin (C#). On the back-end side of the project, we had to face the problem of integrating data from numerous sources, processing it swiftly and serving it to the application. To do this we built a Django back-end server with a specific API for each system, using additional bindings to Java libraries.”
One of the core features of creating this project was working closely with the client, who ultimately almost became part of our team. The Clear Air Space application came to life thanks to the strong involvement, knowledge and experience in the aviation area of the client, as well as the skills of the dedicated team, that did not change throughout the whole creation process.
The application was supplied with offline mode, planning and saving the track of the flight course, depicting airspace and flight tracks, displaying airport maps, no-flight zones, alerting possible collisions with obstacles, approach cards and overlapping of multiple transparent maps. Additionally, the pilot has the option to add and define his own zones, navpoints, tracks and even obstacles.
One of the bigger challenges was creating an interface, that would be as simple as possible, while being clear, intuitive and responsive at the same time. The application works in both horizontal and vertical mode (as usually pilots need to have the device attached to their thigh on a special strap) and enables the pilot to adjust the size of each element to their preference (some pilots, especially emergency medics fly wearing gloves).
The application gathers topographical data (Google Maps), weather data (GAMET, METAR), zones and reports from official and international airspace travel institutions like the Civil Aviation Authority, Polish Air Navigation Services Agency and European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol).
The application lets the pilots access both European and local flight documents, including: charts and airport maps, Taxi, SID, STAR and civil airspace documentation. It also provides access to announcements related to current airspace operations, such as NOTAM and sends warnings about incoming obstacles and air zones.
Clear Air Space lets users add their own specialized databases and documentation (private airports, landing zones, tracks and navpoints, flight handbooks, machine manuals, control lists) and allows sending private notifications and messages to all pilots in the same organization. It also gives full control over assigning, managing and administering licence keys.
The Clear Air Space application is open to introducing additional bespoke features. It is comprehensive and flexible enough to be applied in multiple fields and markets making use of airspace travel. It is currently used in emergency medical services by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service and by the Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin during pilot education courses.
Currently, the application is mostly used for two main features. The first one is planning the flight track, which is usually performed on a laptop or a desktop PC running Windows. The second mode is navigation and planning during flight, which is usually done on tablets with different display resolutions and using Windows or iOS operating systems, depending on user preference.