The main project expected outcomes are depicted below per main technology streams
Concept of greener trajectory based operations (G-TBO)
- Development of new concepts for greener air traffic by analysis of baseline and identification of future concepts between EU and China
- Development and analysis of greener air traffic management Architecture
- Validation of greener air traffic management
European ATM System Architecture Overview – source eATMportal
These activities have started jointly by Europe and China in March 2020. The key challenge is to develop a high-level environmentally friendly operational concept in line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and the future ATM programs of involved countries. The activities related to greener air traffic management (ATM) concept research and development have made good progress despite the current COVID-19 circumstances. Four online tutorial sessions about the current ATM system and future programs in Europe and China were successfully conducted to gain a good understanding of how the current ATM system is working, and which improvements are expected and planned in the future. Related documentation was also exchanged between the different parties. Furthermore, ICAO requirements related to TBO were analyzed, and will be considered in the development of the future concept components. The remaining tasks, mainly dealing with the comparison between Europe and China as well as the development of the new concept elements, are expected to be achieved by the end of 2020. The part dedicated to Greener ATM architecture analysis and modeling has been started by the Chinese partners on July 2020. The validation of greener ATM architecture will be launched on 2021. The progress is monitored through monthly regular progress meetings. Moreover, the GreAT project places significant importance to the teamwork and exchange of experience and knowledge between Europe and China. At this end, a public team site was created to enable joint work on the deliverable and to share data together.
Greener Long Haul Operations
- Design of flexible en-route airspace in the west of China (FERA-WoC) proposing regulations, methodologies and procedures for redesign of FERA-WoC
- Development of technologies for green trajectory optimization based on air-ground information integration and updating by developing mechanisms for on-board and ground-based information fusion, to reduce the cruising time, fuel consumption and emissions in both fixed and flexible en route airspace
Two approaches for improving long haul operation are proposed. The first is to develop a Heterogeneous En-Route Airspace Management (HERAM) concept by identifying the boundary to divide China’s en-route network into the eastern (fixed route) and western (flexible route) region, putting focus on the planning of Flexible En-Route Airspace in the West of China (FERA-WoC). Designing and implementing a new-type airspace with high degree of freedom, known as “Free Route Airspace” (FRA), is an essential mean to support the Greener Trajectory-Based Operations (G-TBO).
The second approach is to optimize long haul flight trajectory based on integrated air-ground information (e.g., traffic situation, dynamic upper wind field), which aims at achieving a wind-optimal path and flight profile to decrease total fuel consumption and emissions during long haul flight in both structured and flexible en-route airspace. The main purpose is to improve the flight trajectory efficiency of the flight across China and Europe, in order to reduce the cruising time, fuel consumption and emissions and to support the above-mentioned trajectory optimization. This is done by promoting the air-ground cooperative operation of long haul flight through the concept and technologies of FF-ICE, as well as increasing the availability of user-preferred 4DT profiles and flexibility of air traffic operation.
These research activities are mainly carried out by the Chinese Consortium and are supported by European partners contributing experiences from research work in Europe.
These activities started in July 2020. Partners agreed on a detailed workplan and schedule, that takes into account the outcomes of and experience gained in the Concept for Greener TBO operations
Greener Short Haul Operations
- Development of new concepts for airspace structures to enable environment friendly continuous climb and descent operations
- Development of enhanced ATC decision support tools based on Arrival Management Tools (AMAN), Departure Management Tools (DMAN) and Surface Management Tools (SMAN), enabling greener gate-to-gate trajectories incorporating optimized airborne and taxi 4d-trajectories
- Enhancement of existing ATC decision support tools addressing improvements based on data analysis for greener short haul operations
Having started in July 2020, the main objective of these activities is the development of an operational environment and assistance systems for the guidance of short haul flights, enabling climate friendly air traffic operations based on concept elements derived in the Concept for Greener TBO operations. The first phase of this technology block creates the final concepts for the operational modes and corresponding essential controller support tools. The second phase concentrates on the system and functionality development and implementation. Two use case scenarios are planned with hub and medium sized airports to distinguish their different needs and financial abilities: First, an airport pair of a medium-sized and a hub airport and second, an air-ground-air scenario of a hub airport. The first objective for hub airports is to develop an airspace design for optimized departure and arrival operations to enable a smooth integration of free route airspace and flight centric ATC, continuous descent operations, continuous climb operations as well as route shortenings in the TMA. The approach procedures use the late-merging principle. Late merging relies on the ability of aircraft to fly 4d-trajectories using a 4D-FMS (high-equipped aircraft) and relies on time-based air traffic guidance. Another objective for hub airports is to optimize airport ground operations towards green 4d-taxi trajectories. To achieve this, ground trajectories should not only be as short as possible and conflict-free but also optimized to avoid stops via speed control. Further, the combination of Departure and Surface Manager enable a reduction of aircraft waiting times with running engines by accurate taxi times. For the medium-size airport, the objective is to review and analyze the airspace structure to match fully the requirements of the environmentally friendly flight guidance.
Advanced avionics technologies
- Development of new technologies on avionics (FMS, Communication, Navigation, Surveillance, Display, etc.) supporting greener long haul and short haul operations
- Integration of weather/terrain/traffic information and efficient air/ground coordination
DLR’s TMA controller working position
This activity, solely carried out by the Chinese consortium, focuses on development of ATM and avionics technologies, which support the greener long-haul/short haul operations, and covers three topics:
- 1.Research on airborne avionic systems supporting TBO aims to build a full ATM avionics architecture with the ability to organize resource, support service and for comprehensive utilization. The main challenge is to provide a top-level framework which defines the requirements and organizations of key subsystem of ATM avionics to form capabilities supporting greener operations. Some key technologies of supporting flight management system and human-machine interface will also be studied in this topic.
- 2.Research on airborne avionic systems supporting TBO aims to build a full ATM avionics architecture with the ability to organize resource, support service and for comprehensive utilization. The main challenge is to provide a top-level framework which defines the requirements and organizations of key subsystem of ATM avionics to form capabilities supporting greener operations. Some key technologies of supporting flight management system and human-machine interface will also be studied in this topic.
- 3.Research on airborne avionic systems supporting TBO aims to build a full ATM avionics architecture with the ability to organize resource, support service and for comprehensive utilization. The main challenge is to provide a top-level framework which defines the requirements and organizations of key subsystem of ATM avionics to form capabilities supporting greener operations. Some key technologies of supporting flight management system and human-machine interface will also be studied in this topic.
Although activities officially started in July 2020, some primary work has been done in advance, including performance requirement analysis of GNSS and LDACS.
Validation of operational benefits
- Establishment of comprehensive simulation environment
- Validation of operational benefits
- Feasibility assessment by system matter experts from relevant stakeholders (ATC, airlines etc.)
The purpose is to establish a comprehensive validation plan as well as a simulation and verification environment for the new greener trajectory concepts and technology of the previous research areas. The simulation environment should have two main parts: (1) Air Traffic Control (ATC) simulation and (2) aircraft simulation. The focus will be on fast-time simulations to assess the wide-area impact and, wherever suitable, real-time human in the loop simulations to validate most critical parts in a much more detailed way. It should be able to support the simulation verification and performance data analysis work of long or short haul green trajectory operation technology and airborne avionics function. The European consortium will focus on providing ATC-related operational simulations. The Chinese consortium will focus on providing simulation tools for airborne avionics functions. Both teams will jointly develop a verification environment. The overall objective is to demonstrate that the technical systems support greener flight trajectories through the reduction of CO2 emissions, NOx emissions and fuel consumption, whilst help to maintain airspace and airport capacity.
This building block will define the verification and validation methodology, establish the simulation environment and complete iterative evaluations. After every cycle the data will be analysed, which will also provide input for the next validation cycle. Each of them consists of preparing, re-adjusting the simulation environment, running the validation and data analysis and reporting.
These activities will ramp up from October 2020 on, and end with a validation results report, which will provide input for assessment of environmental benefits.
Evaluation of environmental impact
- Propose Key Performance Indicators to assess the positive environmental contribution of new concepts and operations in a comprehensive way
- Joint development measures for environmental and climate impact using new and more reliable physical and climate models
- Joint Environmental Impact Assessment for proposed technologies and procedures
- Operational refinements concerning the new approaches in short and long haul based on environmental impact assessment
- Discuss the trade-off between operational benefits and environmental impact
The objective is here to evaluate the environmental impact of aviation pollutants such as CO2 and NOx, on climate change. The main approaches include the establishment of common evaluation metrics, system and methodology. The fuel consumption and air pollutant emissions will be modelled and calculated scientifically. By integrated validation via multiple data sources, the improvement of 4DT-based green operational technology on climate change will be evaluated. The trade-offs between climate change impact and other environmental and performance indicators will also be studied.
These activities started in July 2020, and only preliminary preparatory tasks have been performed, to coordinate the actions of the different participants.