University of Malta and Air Malta awarded EU funding for research in Avionics

The University of Malta and Air Malta plc are participating in the FLYSAFE consortium that has successfully bid for a research contract with a proposal worth in excess of 50M Euro in the 2nd call of the Aeronautics thematic area of EU Framework Programme 6 organised by the  Research Directorate in Brussels.  The consortium, headed by Thales Avionics of France, brings together top European industry and research organisations to develop the next generation safety avionics for commercial aircraft.  Partners include BAE Systems, Airbus, Rockwell Collins, Diehl Avionics, DLR, NLR, UK Meteo, Cranfield University and Darmstadt University.

Safety in Aviation is identified as fundamental for sustainable growth in Europe and is one of the five major challenges identified in the Strategic Research Agenda produced by the Advisory Council for Research for Aeronautics in Europe (ACARE). Flysafe will be actively contributing to the target of a five-fold improvement in safety by developing on-board electronic systems that will further help avert accidents.  The research programme will focus primarily on the identification and mitigation of hazards such as potential collision with other aircraft and terrain, bad weather and air turbulence.

The University of Malta will be responsible for the development of warning systems that will alert the crew of an impending danger of collision on the ground and in the airport terminal area.  The work, which is led by Dr. Ing. David Zammit-Mangion of the Faculty of Engineering, will be conducted in close collaboration with Cranfield University, who are responsible for the development of the displays associated with the system.  Air Malta, under the direction of Captain Laurence Gatt, Manager, Technical and Projects, will be providing end-user input to various activities within the whole programme.  This is considered by the consortium to be crucial in the design and validation phases.

The participation of the University of Malta, Air Malta and Cranfield University is worth 1.3M Euro and has been initiated by Dr. Ing. Zammit-Mangion, who is National Contact Point and  Malta Delegate in the Programme Committee in Aeronautics in Framework Programme 6.  Dr. Zammit-Mangion is also a member of ACARE WT6.

The Flysafe programme is currently in the contractual phase.  It is scheduled to commence on the 1st of February and will last 4 years.