Clear AirSpace® - Mobile App for Pilots

This is the story where we prove that Python can fly;) In just three months our team built an MVP of an app competing with Boeing's Jeppsen Aviator. With time we transformed it into a top-notch commercial Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution used by civilian pilots and air force cadets and instructors.

Table of contents
  • The Brief / Challenges
  • Our Solution
  • Results
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Client
AP Tech
Project Duration
4 years
Team
12 people
Technologies:
Services provided:

THE BRIEF / CHALLENGES

The Client

Challenging the global leader

AP-TECH offers a unique combination of consulting, design, and software development services for the aviation industry, especially airports. Their main business profile is providing complex service for the aviation market, supporting pilots and airport staff in their operations, and improving the safety in the air operations. Their team of experienced engineers has completed many projects in the field of software, electronic systems, automation, robotics, and mechanical structures.

What was the need of our Client?

In summer 2016 AP-TECH offered us a challenging project. They knew the airline industry, we were experts in Python and Django, system architecture, and integration of the best software development tools available. We were also enthusiastic and trusted our skills and experience to build a very complex system in a very short time.

The task was to build from scratch an alternative to Boeing's Jeppesen Aviator, an auxiliary navigation tool for pilots. The time frame was extremely tight. We had to deliver a functional Most Viable Product (MVP) in just three months. The app was supposed to show the best airplane route from point A to point B. We had to create an application that with its quality will not only match but surpass the existing products on the market, and will be reliable and flexible in terms of added functionality. It should also visualize data from international air traffic management institutions, work in difficult conditions and on different systems (iOS)

Clear-AirSpace-Client-2.jpg

OUR SOLUTIONS

Project Approach

Functionalities we implemented in the system

Clear AirSpace® app is auxiliary navigation equipped with a number of features that allow the user to

  • work offline,
  • plan and record the flight route,
  • visualize the airspace and airways.

Additionally, the application provides access to airport maps, approach cards, flight exclusion zones, map coverage, and obstacle warnings. The pilot is also given the ability to independently add and define selected areas, points, lines, and even obstacles.

It may seem easy. If you are new to aviation you may think it's just drawing a straight line. Actually, it's much more complicated than a standard 2D car navigation. First, it works in three dimensions, second, there are no standard roads, but countless obstacles and dynamic areas where planes should or simply cannot fly.

  • Multiple Layers Management

The app lets you customize layers of information that you are displaying while navigating the plane or planning the trip.

  • Creating our own map rendering engine

We got down to it and delivered the MVP. Our first version of the Clear AirSpace® app wasn't perfect but it worked and delivered value to pilots. Since we met the deadline, the project gained business traction, and we could work over the next months to improve. With time we created our own map rendering engine. Since we didn't use an external map provider the app worked much faster than the benchmarks.

Clear AirSpace® is a swiss army knife for pilots. The essential Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) tools in one app. Aircraft pilots are obliged to have with them printed aeronautical charts (route manual, flight checklists, logbooks, and weather information) and have to be trained to know how to use them. However, it's much handier for them to use our solution. It has all the most important features, such as approach plates (instructions on how to land) for every airport in Europe, as well as advanced weather modules.

  • Clear Air Space Interface

Despite the complex backend behind the Clear AirSpace® app, the interface is quite simple. A pilot sets departure and destination points, and the app analyzes the data and calculates the best route. Usually, the pilot wears gloves and the device is attached to their thigh on a special strap, so we enabled the pilot to adjust the size of each element to their preferences.

Coping with technical challenges

Clear AirSpace® is a mobile application for IOS and Windows devices available in AppStore and Microsoft Store. It serves as a navigation aid for both helicopter and airplane pilots during all kinds of flight operations. In contrast to other navigation apps, Clear AirSpace® puts a special emphasis on the individual needs of specialized aviation institutions like medical rescue, transport companies, or private carriers.

Clear AirSpace® allows users to add their own elements to the map, upload specialized databases and documentation, as well as send private notifications and messages to all pilots within the organization. This creates quite a challenging problem for our system since it produces very large sets of data, but our Python solutions handle it very well, and the experience we gain developing Clear AirSpace® creates a competitive advantage for our software.

Technologies we used in the project

The stack we used for the app is - PYTHON, Django, C# / Xamarin, C++, Java. We used PYTHON and Django to build the backend. We built the rest API where data is gathered and stored in Python and later integrated with many other systems. The app itself is built with Xamarin.

Watch gallery Clear AirSpace® - 2022 07

RESULTS

Thriving partnership

Since the successful launch of Clear AirSpace®, the two companies have made seven projects together. This was our first advanced software development project for the aircraft industry. Since then thanks to our strategic partnership with AP-TECH we got to know the arcane of flying and become experts in aviation solutions. Since our first project, we have developed together with a number of advanced aviation products - ATOS™ helped one of the biggest airports in Poland become the go-to landing spot in the region in case of bad weather, and HRESS™ helps helicopters carrying critically injured patients find a landing spot.

Business success

The application was first used by Polish Medical Air Rescue pilots and the elite Polish Air Force University in Deblin cadets and instructors. We are very proud that since November 2018 it is also implemented by Polish Airforce, and used by F-16 pilots.

From a business point of view,Clear AirSpace®, proved to be a great success. Nowadays AP-TECH has already sold several hundreds of licenses and received inquiries from companies and organizations from Europe and America.

Partnering with Order Group proved to be a turning point for our company. They are great in terms of cost, and I was amazed by their work.
Arrow to navigate
Marcin Bondyra
AP-TECH Co-owner
"So far we have done seven projects together. Our ambition is to deliver it to all aviation units - military, police, border patrol, medical. We have received more than a proof of concept, and are qui
Arrow to navigate
Samer Bou Habib
AP-TECH CTO
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