Austria and Germany develop a system to improve aviation safety


The goal of the scientific project EUNADICS-AV is to guarantee a safe and cost efficient air traffic over Europe in case of natural hazards or nuclear accidents. In the first week of September a tracer experiment will take place to validate the quality of dispersion models. EUNADICS-AV is coordinated by the Austrian meteorological service ZAMG and is conducted together with 20 international partners, one of the partners is the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt. From Austria the Federal Ministry of Defense, the University of Salzburg, the company Flightkeys and Austro Control are also involved in the tracer experiment. 



Figure 1. Last preparations for the TRACER experiment in the frame of EUNADCIS-AV: Pilatus PC6 of the Austrian Air Forces at the barracks Langenlebarn. Source: KdoLuU/Gorup




Aviation is one of the most critical mode of transport in this century. Even short disruptions of flight schedules can cause major economic damages. The focus of the ongoing project EUNADICS-AV (European Natural Airborne Disaster Information and Coordination System for Aviation) is to develop methods and systems which guarantee a safe air traffic with low economic damages in case of a natural hazard or a nuclear accident. The EUNADICS-AV project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programe for Societal challenges - smart, green and integrated transport.


Dispersion experiment with airplanes from the Austrian Air Force, the DLR and the University Düsseldorf

In September 2018 an experiment will take place in Germany and Austria which will simulate a real emergency situation. Small amounts of an inert tracer gas will be released into the atmosphere and transported by the wind. Altogether 3 planes with specific measurement devices, a Learjet commissioned by the  DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, the German Aerospace Center), a PC6 from the Austrian Air Force and DA42 from the University Düsseldorf, will be flying through the regions of the dispersed tracer gas to measure its distribution. As the natural background concentrations of the tracer gas a very low only small amounts need to be released to observe the dispersion of the tracer plume.



Figure 2. Airplanes with special measurements devices observe the dispersion and concentration of a trace gas in the frame of EUNADICS-AV: Pilatus-PC6 of the Austrian Air Forces (Photo), a Learjet by order of the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) and a DA42 of the university Düsseldorf. Source: Kdo LuU/Gorup  


Situation like a volcanic eruption

„The goal of the experiment is to simulate a real emergency scenario as it could happen during a volcanic eruption”, explains project coordinator Marcus Hirtl, “also during real emergency situations measurement airplanes are used to locate regions with elevated concentration values”. The data from the experiment will also be used to validate the accuracy of dispersion models which are used to optimize air traffic management.


A European wide exercise for emergency scenarios will take place in spring 2019

The data which will be obtained during the tracer experiment this fall will be used for a European wide exercise in March 2019. Two emergency situations will be simulated, one for a volcanic eruption and one for a nuclear accident. The effects of these events on air traffic will be investigated and mitigation strategies which allow for optimization of aviation safety and economic impacts will be developed.


EUNADICS-AV: 21 organisations from 12 countries

The consortium of EUNADICS-AV consists of 21 organisations from 12 countries. Involved are national weather services, observation network operators, private companies, Universities, aviation service providers and military organizations. The Austrian meteorological service “Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik” (ZAMG) is coordinating the project. From Austria the Federal Ministry of Defense, the University of Salzburg, the company Flightkeys and Austro Control are also involved in the project.