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.