SESAR ECHO research project aims to develop concept of operations for higher airspace

The SESAR European Concept of Higher airspace Operations (ECHO) research project led by European aims to deliver a comprehensive demand analysis and concept of operations for higher airspace to allow safe, efficient and scalable operations. Over the next two years, project members will research existing procedures, analyse demand for all vehicles operating in higher airspace, and develop a concept of operations (ConOPs).

The ConOps will provide the basis to identify future infrastructure needs that would be required to support Higher Airspace Operations (HAO) and it will be developed for short, medium and long-term time frames. A key objective is that the ConOps should address operations of today’s existing vehicles as well as of vehicles and activities still to be developed.

The demand characteristics for higher airspace operations are expected to evolve over time, which will be analysed through a demand analysis. The ConOps will specify a phased evolving concept synchronised with the evolution of demand in order to guide efficiently the evolution of HAO Traffic Management.

The project will follow a top-down approach making best and efficient use of past research results and documents. The method includes a detailed analysis of the demand both in terms of volume and characteristics of vehicles and operations. This will be the basis for the development of use cases and identification of requirements to enable the demand to operate in the Higher Airspace. The ConOps will be developed according to these requirements.

The Higher Airspace is an opportunity to implement relevant elements of the innovative concepts being developed for ATM e.g. System Wide Information Management (SWIM) and Trajectory Based Operations (TBO). In this way, the Higher Airspace could become a leading innovative environment. Fundamental principles such as safety and environmental standards especially for manned aviation will be applied as leading principles for the ConOps.

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