While exposure to the galactic component of cosmic radiation on board aircraft is well known and can be modelled, this is not the case for exposure related to solar flares with protons sufficiently energetic to cross the magnetosphere. Scientists studying these eruptions have limited observational data, due to operational difficulties in setting up measurement networks at flight altitudes. These data are necessary to validate and improve the tools and models used to calculate the doses received (see the SiGLE model developed by Paris Observatory and used in the SIEVERTPN tool for calculating doses on board aircraft, www.sievert-system.org).
Since solar flares with an effect on aircraft flight levels are rare, last no more than a few hours and are difficult to predict, it is necessary to have the widest possible permanent coverage in terms of measurement equipment.
The Cosmic On Air project (cosmic-on-air.org) aims to stimulate the measurement of cosmic radiation on board aircraft by the general public using the tools already available in OpenRadiation. This citizen measurement project makes it possible to extend cosmic radiation measurements to different latitudes or periods and thus increase the chances of detecting different cosmic and atmospheric phenomena (significant solar flares, gamma flash in storms, quantifying the attenuation of the dose due to Forbush decreases) or to identify other still unknown phenomena. The open data collected in this way can be more widely used by the scientific community to better understand these phenomena and their impacts.
The analysis of the collected data will also improve knowledge of detector performance, refine their calibration and ultimately provide a better dose estimate.