A Personal Plane Air Transportation System - The PPlane Project 2011-01-2697
The seventh European Framework Program (FP7) “Personal Plane” project (PPlane) aims at developing system ideas to enable personal air transport in the long term (2030 and beyond). Such a system will avoid the ever increasing congestion on European roads and offer an alternative to the current conventional transport system across Europe, in particular in those states that still have poor highway and railway networks.
The preliminary assumption made in the PPlane project is that automatisms should be developed to enable a “regular Joe” to use a personal aircraft, in various weather conditions, without any command and control difficulties, using a “push button” navigation interface. An on-board automatic system will take care of the complex issues of integration into the airspace (other sky users, class of airspace, Special Use Airspace…), navigation and emergency management.
A systematic and innovative approach has been developed and implemented within the PPlane project in order to understand and analyze customers' needs and to propose novel ideas for a Personal Air Transport System (PATS). This system would satisfy the end users while respecting all environmental and social constraints. Several concepts of operation have been initially designed followed by an optimization model that applies a number of selection criteria to define, analyze and prioritize these concepts. The main issues that have been addressed are divided into 5 domains: security and safety, automation and control, environmental impact, energy constraints, human factors and social acceptance. In each domain, areas such as technologies, regulation and affordability are considered assisting in the design of viable systems ideas.
PPlane is a 30-month project that started in October 2009. The PPlane consortium is coordinated by ONERA (France), administratively supported by Intergam Communications (Israel) and includes leading organizations from 11 European countries and associated states from different aviation domains in industry, research and academy.