Dipl. Ing. Michael Finke, Project Coordinator
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institut für Flugführung German Aerospace Center | Institute of Flight Guidance | Controller Assistance
"The GreAT project is an important step to counteract global warming and paves the way for a permanent supranational collaboration in this issue. Leading scientists and experts from Europe and China drive this project and draw a clear picture on what the possibilities of ATM are to reduce aviation’s emissions. We elaborate what needs to be done in detail to exhaust these possibilities to the limit. Comprehensive validation activities with high-end simulators and the involving of external experts from the air traffic community underline the scientific professionalism and guarantee the objectivity of results. Together with our sister projects, we explore all what aviation can do to limit the climate change without reducing air mobility. I am happy and excited to be part of this development."
Partner KLM Representatives
Captain Tim ten Velde, Flight Operations SPL/NM KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
"KLM is committed to minimize the impact of our activities by reducing our environmental footprint and protecting the environment beyond regulatory compliance. We strive to minimize the environmental risks that arise as a result of our operations. KLM also seeks to engage its customers with the new slogan: 'Fly Responsibly'. The 'GreAT' project will help airlines in general to reduce their emissions by developing new ATM structures and procedures. Together with partners in Europe and China with Air Traffic Control specialists and Aerospace engineers new options of Air Traffic Management will be explored and validated. We are excited to be part of this project and see it as one of the examples where we take our responsibility to work on a sustainable future for all of us."
CEO, PILDO LABS (Spain)
Q1: Your involvement is focused on tools development for arrival, departure and surface management integration and joint scheduling. Can you explain why and how these standalone solutions will minimize environmental impact at both hub and medium-sized airports?
A1: Aviation community is investing continuously on reducing the environmental footprint, in particular related to noise and emission affectations. Due to airspace capacity the level of improvements that could be expected at higher flight levels is well advanced, but still is considered to exist some room for improvements at lower levels and in particular in airport surroundings and arrivals. While initially the most evident solution for that would be to plan a kind of airspace restructuring, this might be not sufficient if the controllers and pilots do not have additional tools to best manage and optimize operations. As such, we believe that standalone solutions that might contribute to improve visibility on the on-going operations, better plan and advance certain in-flight situations that might contribute to reduce fuel consumption might also play an important role in the overall value chain.
Q2: Can you illustrate of the connections with past or running SESAR initiatives, in particular related of MergeStrip development?
A2: PildoLabs has previously coordinated different projects as in support to continuous descent and climb operations, in particular REACT and REACT+, developed as part of the SESAR Very Large Demonstrations programme. Through the participation of ANSP and airline operators from Czech Republic and Hungary, we have demonstrated the benefits that those types of operations can provide in reducing the fuel consumption experienced during the arrival and departure operations. While REACT was limited on improving airspace structure and current phraseology for better coordination between pilots and air traffic controllers, within REACT+, and thanks to Hungarocontrol, we demonstrated a new concept, so-called Mergestrip, providing additional tools to controllers to better predict and manage arrivals. In the frame of GreAT we are planning to research and develop additional functionalities to the controllers on MergeStrip concept, mostly related to data handling and artificial intelligence techniques.
Q3: As far as the exploitation plan is concerned for each of the implemented solutions, what will be the top-level requirements to obtain a robust feasibility study of a real deployment of MergeStrip at LHBP?
A3: MergeStrip is expected to provide important benefits on the reduction of fuel consumption at LHBP. Even though it is considered that there is still some room for improvement on how to evolve the concept for a better predictability of the descent operations. For example, related to the time of arrival and others that could be modelled through machine learning algorithms. The possibility to compare the results obtained from GREAT proposed evolutions with current MergeStrip operations appears to be key for the possible implementation of the results in operations. Through access to Hungarocontrol’s Simulation Hub (simulationhub.hu), and fuel estimation tools developed by PildoLabs such as the Dailyfuel ® ©, the expected results could be consolidated in a simulation environment prior to actual deployment in real operations.
Q4: Pildo Labs has faced as many other aviation stakeholders the Covid-19 crisis. Can you shortly describe the impact on your activities, as an SME, and in particular on GreAT schedule from your perspective?
A4: PildoLabs is a small company that keeps investing regularly on Research and Development for providing new services and products within the aviation domain. As small private players, in the middle of huge companies and Stakeholders mostly financed through Public funds, we are required to make it not only innovative but also in a more efficient manner, without disregarding quality of delivery. While we are certain the current crisis will not be easy to overcome, and certainly will directly or indirectly affect us, we also believe it might be a good opportunity for some Stakeholders to consider more efficient ways of doing things. It might be at the end that the actual panorama for us does not change majorly. We keep convincing people that there are other ways of doing things, and that is worth evaluating our advanced solutions and concepts. Our role will remain to be there, with a robust solution ready for and benefit from any single opportunity with passion upfront.
Senior Engineer in Key Laboratory of ATM Avionics Technology, CARERI (China)
Q1: The Covid-19 certainly affected the project start but also more generally the aviation community. Can you describe the current mood in aviation research and industrial community in China and the main challenges for the project in the first 9 month?
A1: The Covid-19 epidemic situation has proved to be a huge strike to the global aviation community. In the first few months of 2020, the temporary lockout of aviation-related factories in China caused certain damages to product supply chains. The research activities in universities and research institutes had also been suspended for several weeks, though the impact was mitigated for researchers via homeworking and on-line meetings. Fortunately, thanks to the timely and effective measures taken by Chinese government, and persistent efforts of medical workers, currently the situation is basically under control in China. Most enterprises, research institutes and factories have returned to work by this summer. With the negative influence of Covid-19 fading away, the overall mood in aviation community has gradually recovered. However, as the global situation remains unoptimistic, GreAT project is still facing challenges. One of them is the obstacles in face-to-face communication between European and Chinese consortium, which is crucial to an international cooperation project like GreAT. Currently we use emails or online meetings as alternative way for bilateral exchanges, but when the situation permits, both teams need come together to discuss the project details.
Q2: Besides the general involvement in the overall project, Chinese participants in GreAT have a specific interest on (airborne) avionics systems and related simulation, how did you motivated this ?
A2: Avionics is always an important element in aviation industry. The technological progress of avionics pushes forward the development in ATM operational pattern to some extent. In the future air traffic operation, aircraft is becoming a key participant to realize smarter, safer, more efficient and greener flight. Next-generation air traffic operational concepts, such as 4DT-based Operation, A-SMGCS, CCO & CDO require close coordination between airborne avionic systems and ground ATM systems, which relies on technology development and capability organization of avionics towards future ATM operation. Based on this consideration, in order to support the research on greener long-haul/short-haul operation in GreAT project, Chinese participants have laid specific focus on airborne avionics systems and set a specific research activity. In this area, we are going to carry out research on greener avionics system architecture, flight management system, human-machine interface, GNSS and L-band digital communication system. Moreover, Chinese consortium has a deep research background on avionics systems which is able to fulfil the related tasks in this project.
Q3: International cooperation was particular at stakes during Spring via the training sessions organised on Concept of Greener Trajectory Based Operations – what were, according to you, the benefits of such sessions?
A3: As we know, there are many differences in the airspace structures and ATM operational patterns between Europe and China. Due to few cooperation opportunities on ATM before, the European consortium lacks adequate knowledge about how ATM is organised in China, and vice versa. Therefore, in order to lay solid foundation for the GreAT project, I think the training sessions organised on this topic are very important to the EU-China cooperation project, especially at this specific moment, when formal visits to ATM facilities on the other side are not available. In fact, through these sessions the research teams on both sides benefit a lot from learning much about the baseline and future ATM programs in Europe and China, which gives a good start for the next phase of the project. On the other hand, these sessions also strengthen the bilateral trust between the two consortiums which is one of the key factors to ensure the success of this project.
The information, statements and opinions in the above interviews are personal views from the individuals involved in the GreAT project, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the GreAT consortium as a whole, nor of the European Commission. None of them shall be liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.