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Aerospace, Volume 8, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 34 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The present study has explored the relationship between the lifecycle of airworthiness incidents and the overall learning process when performing safety analysis. The learning from incidents approach has proven to be a powerful qualitative tool for establishing causation and identifying process gaps within the continuing airworthiness management environment. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Spectral Correlation for Signal Presence Detection and Frequency Acquisition of Small Satellites
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020057 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 180
Abstract
Challenges in interference-limited satellite detection arising from the low-earth orbit (LEO) and the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency bands are addressed. In particular, a novel signal presence detector based on cyclostationary signal properties is proposed and analyzed for a low signal-to-noise-plus-interference ratio [...] Read more.
Challenges in interference-limited satellite detection arising from the low-earth orbit (LEO) and the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency bands are addressed. In particular, a novel signal presence detector based on cyclostationary signal properties is proposed and analyzed for a low signal-to-noise-plus-interference ratio (SINR) regime. The performance of the proposed detector, which is applicable to various small-satellite scenarios, is evaluated on both simulated and real-world measurement data. This measurement data has been collected from the scientific satellite mission “Picosats Realizing Orbital Propagation Calibrations using Beacon Emitters” (PROPCUBE). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Satellite Technologies and Mission Concepts)
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Open AccessArticle
A Study on Thermal Buckling and Mode Jumping of Metallic and Composite Plates
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020056 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 275
Abstract
Composite plates in post-buckling regime can experience mode jumping in their buckling shape, suddenly increasing the number of half-waves. This phenomenon can be advantageous, because the shape change could be used for local morphing or structural adaptability in future aerospace structures. A study [...] Read more.
Composite plates in post-buckling regime can experience mode jumping in their buckling shape, suddenly increasing the number of half-waves. This phenomenon can be advantageous, because the shape change could be used for local morphing or structural adaptability in future aerospace structures. A study of this phenomenon under heating is here presented, combining numerical and experimental techniques. At first, a set of parametric analysis was conducted to identify composite panels that present a mode jump when heated. Three plates were selected, one in aluminum alloy 2024T3, and two in AS4/8552 composite material, with layup [30/30/5/5]s and [35/35/10/10]s. The plates were tested in a new test setup for thermal buckling based on low thermal expansion fixtures. The mode jumping was successfully obtained experimentally for both composite plates. Numerical simulations predicted the general trends for all plates, and the mode jumps for the composite plates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Aerospace Sciences and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
An Ultrasonic-Based Detection of Air-Leakage for the Unclosed Components of Aircraft
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020055 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 192
Abstract
Air-leakage detection is among the most important processes at the assembly stage of unclosed components, especially for large aircraft. A series of air-leakage detecting methods are generally applied during the final assembly, nevertheless, many of them are less effective to detect the leakage [...] Read more.
Air-leakage detection is among the most important processes at the assembly stage of unclosed components, especially for large aircraft. A series of air-leakage detecting methods are generally applied during the final assembly, nevertheless, many of them are less effective to detect the leakage at the assembly stage. The present study aims to discuss the principles of ultrasonic generation in negative pressure conditions to detect the air-leakage. An ultrasonic-based detection method is proposed and designed to detect the air-leakage of unclosed components for aircraft. A relationship between the acoustic power, sound pressure, and the leak aperture detection distance was identified and discussed. A leakage rate model related to leakage rate, leak aperture, and system pressure was implemented and confirmed through experiments. Findings have indicated that the air-leakage can be detected effectively within a detection distance of 0.8 m and a leak aperture greater or equal to 0.4 mm with this method. Besides, the leak location, leak aperture, and leakage rate was acquired in an accurate and fast way. It is an effective method of detecting the air-leakage of unclosed components at the aircraft assembly stage reducing the testing time, energy consumption, and cost for the air-leakage detection in the final assembly stage of large aircraft. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control and Optimization Problems in Aerospace Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Configuration Study of Electric Helicopters for Urban Air Mobility
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020054 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 206
Abstract
There is currently interest in the design of small electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to alleviate ground traffic and congestion in major urban areas. To support progress in this area, a conceptual design method for single-main-rotor and lift-augmented compound electric helicopters has [...] Read more.
There is currently interest in the design of small electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to alleviate ground traffic and congestion in major urban areas. To support progress in this area, a conceptual design method for single-main-rotor and lift-augmented compound electric helicopters has been developed. The design method was used to investigate the feasible design space for electric helicopters based on varying mission profiles and technology assumptions. Within the feasible design space, it was found that a crossover boundary exists as a function of cruise distance and hover time where the most efficient configuration changes from a single-main-rotor helicopter to a lift-augmented compound helicopter. In general, for longer cruise distances and shorter hover times, the lift-augmented compound helicopter is the more efficient configuration. An additional study was conducted to investigate the potential benefits of decoupling the main rotor from the tail rotor. This study showed that decoupling the main rotor and tail rotor has the potential to reduce the total mission energy required in all cases, allowing for increases in mission distances and hover times on the order of 5% for a given battery size. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Numerical and Experimental Investigation of the Convective Heat Transfer on a Small Helicopter Rotor Test Setup
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020053 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 245
Abstract
In-flight icing affects helicopter performance, limits its operations, and reduces safety. The convective heat transfer is an important parameter in numerical icing simulations and state-of-the-art icing/de-icing codes utilize important computing resources when calculating it. The BEMT–RHT and UVLM–RHT offer low- and medium-fidelity approaches [...] Read more.
In-flight icing affects helicopter performance, limits its operations, and reduces safety. The convective heat transfer is an important parameter in numerical icing simulations and state-of-the-art icing/de-icing codes utilize important computing resources when calculating it. The BEMT–RHT and UVLM–RHT offer low- and medium-fidelity approaches to estimate the rotor heat transfer (RHT). They are based on a coupling between Blade element momentum theory (BEMT) or unsteady vortex lattice method (UVLM), and a CFD-determined heat transfer correlation. The latter relates the Frossling number (Fr) to the Reynolds number (Re) and effective angle of attack (αEff). In a series of experiments carried out at the Anti-icing Materials International Laboratory (AMIL), this paper serves as a proof of concept of the proposed correlations. The objective is to propose correlations for the experimentally measured rotor heat transfer data. Specifically, the Frx is correlated with the Re and αEff in a similar form as the proposed CFD-based correlations. A fixed-wing setup is first used as a preliminary step to verify the heat transfer measurements of the icing wind tunnel (IWT). Tests are conducted at α = 0°, for a range of 4.76 × 105Re ≤ 1.36 × 106 and at 10 non-dimensional surface wrap locations − 0.62 ≤ (S/c) ≤ + 0.87. Later, a rotor setup is used to build the novel heat transfer correlation, tests are conducted at two pitch angles ((θ) = 0° and 6°) for a range of rotor speeds (500 RPM ≤ (Ω) ≤ 1500 RPM), three different radial positions ((r/R) = 0.6, 0.75 and 0.95), and 0 ≤ S/c ≤ + 0.58. Results indicate that the fixed-wing Frx at the stagnation point was in the range of literature experimental data, and within 8% of fully turbulent CFD simulations. The FrAvg also agrees with CFD predictions, with an average discrepancy of 1.4%. For the rotor, the Ω caused a similar increase of Frx for the tests at θ = 0° and those at θ = 6°. Moreover, the Frx behavior changed significantly with r/R, suggesting the αEff had a significant effect on the Frx. Finally, the rotor data are first correlated with Rem (at each S/c) for θ = 0° to establish the correlation parameters, and a term for the αEff is then added to also account for the tests at θ = 6°. The correlations fit the data with an error between 2.1% and 14%, thus justifying the use of a coupled approach for the BEMT–RHT and UVLM–RHT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deicing and Anti-Icing of Aircraft (Volume II))
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Open AccessArticle
Vibration Response Aspects of a Main Landing Gear Composite Door Designed for High-Speed Rotorcraft
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020052 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 286
Abstract
One of the crucial issues affecting the structural safety of propeller vehicles is the propeller tonal excitation and related vibrations. Propeller rotation during flight generates vibrating sources depending upon its rotational angular velocity, number of blades, power at shaft generating aircraft thrust, and [...] Read more.
One of the crucial issues affecting the structural safety of propeller vehicles is the propeller tonal excitation and related vibrations. Propeller rotation during flight generates vibrating sources depending upon its rotational angular velocity, number of blades, power at shaft generating aircraft thrust, and blade geometry. Generally, the higher energy levels generated are confined to 1st blade passing frequency (BPF) and its harmonics, while additional broadband components, mainly linked with the blade shape, the developed engine power, and the turbulent boundary layer (TBL), also contribute to the excitation levels. The vibrations problem takes on particular relevance in the case of composite structures. The laminates in fact could exert damping levels generally lower than metallic structures, where the greater amount of bolted joints allow for dissipating more vibration energy. The prediction and reduction of aircraft vibration levels are therefore significant considerations for conventional propeller aircrafts now entering the commercial market as well as for models currently being developed. In the Clean Sky 2 framework, the present study focuses on a practical case inherent to the AIRBUS-Racer program aiming to design and develop a multi-tasking fast rotorcraft. This paper defines a finite elements (FE)-based procedure for the characterization of the vibration levels of a main landing gear (MLG) composite door with respect to the expected operating tonal loads. A parametric assessment was carried out to evaluate the principal modal parameters (transfer functions and respective resonance frequencies, mode shapes, and damping coefficients) of the landing gear-door assembly in order to achieve reduced vibration levels. Based on the FE analysis results, the influence of the extra-damping, location, and number of ballast elements, the boundary conditions were investigated with respect to failure scenarios of the kinematic line opening the study towards aeroelastic evaluations. Further experimental ground test results serve as a validation database for the prediction numerical methods representative of the composite door dynamic response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Radio Frequency Interference Measurements for a Radio Astronomy Observatory Site in Indonesia
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020051 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 230
Abstract
We report on the measurements of radio frequency interference (RFI) at Mount Timau, Kupang, Indonesia, which is intended to host a future radio astronomy observatory. These measurements were taken twice in October 2020 and December 2020 to obtain the RFI environment, at frequencies [...] Read more.
We report on the measurements of radio frequency interference (RFI) at Mount Timau, Kupang, Indonesia, which is intended to host a future radio astronomy observatory. These measurements were taken twice in October 2020 and December 2020 to obtain the RFI environment, at frequencies between 70 and 7000 MHz. Due to the limitations of the measurement data, the results presented in this paper are based on peak detection rather than statistical analysis. Based on the measurement results, the frequency interval between 70–88 MHz and 120–150 MHz is relatively quiet, and the frequency range of 150–300 MHz is relatively clear. The frequency interval of 300 to 800 MHz is relatively quiet, except at the frequency of 600 MHz. The frequency range of 800–1400 MHz is also relatively quiet. The predominant terrestrial services in this band are at 840 MHz, with an amplitude around 32 dB, and 916 MHz, with an amplitude around 12 dB, and the global system for mobile (GSM) signals around 954 MHz have an amplitude around 20 dB above the noise floor. The frequency range of 1400–7000 MHz is also relatively quiet. In this band frequency, we can see RFI at 2145 and 2407 MHz, emitted by local Wi-Fi, and at 2683 MHz, with amplitudes of 18, 40 and 15 dB, respectively, from the noise level. We conclude that, for this period, the frequency band allocated for astronomy can possibly be used for radio telescope development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Impact Mitigation Potential of European Air Traffic in a Weather Situation with Strong Contrail Formation
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020050 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Air traffic contributes to anthropogenic global warming by about 5% due to CO2 emissions and non-CO2 effects, which are primarily caused by the emission of NOx and water vapor as well as the formation of contrails. Since—in the long term—the [...] Read more.
Air traffic contributes to anthropogenic global warming by about 5% due to CO2 emissions and non-CO2 effects, which are primarily caused by the emission of NOx and water vapor as well as the formation of contrails. Since—in the long term—the aviation industry is expected to maintain its trend to grow, mitigation measures are required to counteract its negative effects upon the environment. One of the promising operational mitigation measures that has been a subject of the EU project ATM4E is climate-optimized flight planning by considering algorithmic climate change functions that allow for the quantification of aviation-induced climate impact based on the emission’s location and time. Here, we describe the methodology developed for the use of algorithmic climate change functions in trajectory optimization and present the results of its application to the planning of about 13,000 intra-European flights on one specific day with strong contrail formation over Europe. The optimization problem is formulated as bi-objective continuous optimal control problem with climate impact and fuel burn being the two objectives. Results on an individual flight basis indicate that there are three major classes of different routes that are characterized by different shapes of the corresponding Pareto fronts representing the relationship between climate impact reduction and fuel burn increase. On average, for the investigated weather situation and traffic scenario, a climate impact reduction in the order of 50% can be achieved by accepting 0.75% of additional fuel burn. Higher mitigation gains would only be available at much higher fuel penalties, e.g., a climate impact reduction of 76% associated with a fuel penalty of 12.8%. However, these solutions represent much less efficient climate impact mitigation options. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Aero-Engine Multi-Disciplinary Preliminary Design Optimization Framework Accounting for Dynamic System Operation and Aircraft Mission Performance
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020049 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
This paper presents a modular, flexible, extendable and fast-computational framework that implements a multidisciplinary, varying fidelity, multi-system approach for the conceptual and preliminary design of novel aero-engines. In its current status, the framework includes modules for multi-point steady-state engine design, aerodynamic design, engine [...] Read more.
This paper presents a modular, flexible, extendable and fast-computational framework that implements a multidisciplinary, varying fidelity, multi-system approach for the conceptual and preliminary design of novel aero-engines. In its current status, the framework includes modules for multi-point steady-state engine design, aerodynamic design, engine geometry and weight, aircraft mission analysis, Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions, control system design and integrated controller-engine transient-performance analysis. All the modules have been developed in the same software environment, ensuring consistent and transparent modeling while facilitating code maintainability, extendibility and integration at modeling and simulation levels. Any simulation workflow can be defined by appropriately combining the relevant modules. Different types of analysis can be specified such as sensitivity, design of experiment and optimization. Any combination of engine parameters can be selected as design variables, and multi-disciplinary requirements and constraints at different operating points in the flight envelope can be specified. The framework implementation is exemplified through the optimization of an ultra-high bypass ratio geared turbofan engine with a variable area fan nozzle, for which specific aircraft requirements and technology limits apply. Although the optimum design resulted in double-digit fuel-burn benefits compared to current technology engines, it did not meet engine-response requirements, highlighting the need to include transient-performance assessments as early as possible in the preliminary engine design phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress in Jet Engine Technology II)
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Open AccessArticle
Tuning of a Linear-Quadratic Stabilization System for an Anti-Aircraft Missile
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020048 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 300
Abstract
A description is given of an application of a linear-quadratic regulator (LQR) for stabilizing the characteristics of an anti-aircraft missile, and an analytical method of selecting the weighting elements of the gain matrix in feedback loop is proposed. A novel method of LQR [...] Read more.
A description is given of an application of a linear-quadratic regulator (LQR) for stabilizing the characteristics of an anti-aircraft missile, and an analytical method of selecting the weighting elements of the gain matrix in feedback loop is proposed. A novel method of LQR tuning via a single parameter ς was proposed and tested. The article supplements and develops the topics addressed in the author’s previous work. Its added value includes the observation that the solutions obtained are symmetric pairs, and that the tuning parameter ς proposed for the designed linear-quadratic regulator enables the selection of suitable parameters for the airframe stabilizing loop for the majority of the analytical solutions of the considered Riccati equation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing for Prediction of Human Factors in Aviation Incident Reports
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020047 - 11 Feb 2021
Viewed by 446
Abstract
In the aviation sector, human factors are the primary cause of safety incidents. Intelligent prediction systems, which are capable of evaluating human state and managing risk, have been developed over the years to identify and prevent human factors. However, the lack of large [...] Read more.
In the aviation sector, human factors are the primary cause of safety incidents. Intelligent prediction systems, which are capable of evaluating human state and managing risk, have been developed over the years to identify and prevent human factors. However, the lack of large useful labelled data has often been a drawback to the development of these systems. This study presents a methodology to identify and classify human factor categories from aviation incident reports. For feature extraction, a text pre-processing and Natural Language Processing (NLP) pipeline is developed. For data modelling, semi-supervised Label Spreading (LS) and supervised Support Vector Machine (SVM) techniques are considered. Random search and Bayesian optimization methods are applied for hyper-parameter analysis and the improvement of model performance, as measured by the Micro F1 score. The best predictive models achieved a Micro F1 score of 0.900, 0.779, and 0.875, for each level of the taxonomic framework, respectively. The results of the proposed method indicate that favourable predicting performances can be achieved for the classification of human factors based on text data. Notwithstanding, a larger data set would be recommended in future research. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue: Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges (Volume II)
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020046 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 388
Abstract
Effective safety management has always been a key objective for the broader airworthiness sector [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Aircraft Flight Stabilizer System by CDM Designed Servo State-Feedback Controller
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020045 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 301
Abstract
This research presents an automatic flight control system whose advantage is its ease of modification or maintenance while still effectively meeting the system’s performance requirement. This research proposes a mixed servo state-feedback system for controlling aircraft longitudinal and lateral-directional motion simultaneously based on [...] Read more.
This research presents an automatic flight control system whose advantage is its ease of modification or maintenance while still effectively meeting the system’s performance requirement. This research proposes a mixed servo state-feedback system for controlling aircraft longitudinal and lateral-directional motion simultaneously based on the coefficient diagram method or CDM as the controller design methodology. The structure of this mixed servo state-feedback system is intuitive and straightforward, while CDM’s design processes are clear. Simulation results with aircraft linear and nonlinear models exhibit excellent performance in stabilizing and tracking the reference commands for both longitudinal and lateral-directional motion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modelling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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Open AccessArticle
Physics Guided Deep Learning for Data-Driven Aircraft Fuel Consumption Modeling
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020044 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
This paper presents a physics-guided deep neural network framework to estimate fuel consumption of an aircraft. The framework aims to improve data-driven models’ consistency in flight regimes that are not covered by data. In particular, we guide the neural network with the equations [...] Read more.
This paper presents a physics-guided deep neural network framework to estimate fuel consumption of an aircraft. The framework aims to improve data-driven models’ consistency in flight regimes that are not covered by data. In particular, we guide the neural network with the equations that represent fuel flow dynamics. In addition to the empirical error, we embed this physical knowledge as several extra loss terms. Results show that our proposed model accomplishes correct predictions on the labeled test set, as well as assuring physical consistency in unseen flight regimes. The results indicate that our model, while being applicable to the aircraft’s complete flight envelope, yields lower fuel consumption error measures compared to the model-based approaches and other supervised learning techniques utilizing the same training data sets. In addition, our deep learning model produces fuel consumption trends similar to the BADA4 aircraft performance model, which is widely utilized in real-world operations, in unseen and untrained flight regimes. In contrast, the other supervised learning techniques fail to produce meaningful results. Overall, the proposed methodology enhances the explainability of data-driven models without deteriorating accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aeronautical Informatics)
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Open AccessReview
In-flight Lift and Drag Estimation of an Unmanned Propeller-Driven Aircraft
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020043 - 06 Feb 2021
Viewed by 375
Abstract
The high-power density and good scaling properties of electric motors enable new propulsion arrangements and aircraft configurations. This results in distributed propulsion systems allowing to make use of aerodynamic interaction effects between individual propellers and the wing of the aircraft, improving flight performance [...] Read more.
The high-power density and good scaling properties of electric motors enable new propulsion arrangements and aircraft configurations. This results in distributed propulsion systems allowing to make use of aerodynamic interaction effects between individual propellers and the wing of the aircraft, improving flight performance and thus reducing in-flight emissions. In order to systematically analyze these effects, an unmanned research platform was designed and built at the University of Stuttgart. As the aircraft is being used as a testbed for various flight performance studies in the field of distributed electric propulsion, a methodology for precise identification of its performance characteristics is required. One of the main challenges is the determination of the total drag of the aircraft to be able to identify an exact drag and lift polar in flight. For this purpose, an on-board measurement system was developed which allows for precise determination of the thrust of the aircraft which equals the total aerodynamic drag in steady, horizontal flight. The system has been tested and validated in flight using the unmanned free-flight test platform. The article provides an overview of the measuring system installed, discusses its functionality and shows results of the flight tests carried out. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Determining the Contrail Cirrus Efficacy
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020042 - 06 Feb 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Contrail cirrus has been emphasized as the largest individual component of aircraft climate impact, yet respective assessments have been based mainly on conventional radiative forcing calculations. As demonstrated in previous research work, individual impact components can have different efficacies, i.e., their effectiveness to [...] Read more.
Contrail cirrus has been emphasized as the largest individual component of aircraft climate impact, yet respective assessments have been based mainly on conventional radiative forcing calculations. As demonstrated in previous research work, individual impact components can have different efficacies, i.e., their effectiveness to induce surface temperature changes may vary. Effective radiative forcing (ERF) has been proposed as a superior metric to compare individual impact contributions, as it may, to a considerable extent, include the effect of efficacy differences. Recent climate model simulations have provided a first estimate of contrail cirrus ERF, which turns out to be much smaller, by about 65%, than the conventional radiative forcing of contrail cirrus. The main reason for the reduction is that natural clouds exhibit a substantially lower radiative impact in the presence of contrail cirrus. Hence, the new result suggests a smaller role of contrail cirrus in the context of aviation climate impact (including proposed mitigation measures) than assumed so far. However, any conclusion in this respect should be drawn carefully as long as no direct simulations of the surface temperature response to contrail cirrus are available. Such simulations are needed in order to confirm the power of ERF for assessing contrail cirrus efficacy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Continuing Airworthiness Occurrences under the Prism of a Learning Framework
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020041 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 444
Abstract
In this research paper fifteen mandatory occurrence reports are analysed. The purpose of this is to highlight the learning potential incidents such as these may possess for organisations involved in aircraft maintenance and continuing airworthiness management activities. The outputs from the mandatory occurrence [...] Read more.
In this research paper fifteen mandatory occurrence reports are analysed. The purpose of this is to highlight the learning potential incidents such as these may possess for organisations involved in aircraft maintenance and continuing airworthiness management activities. The outputs from the mandatory occurrence reports are aligned in tabular form for ease of inclusion in human factors’ continuation training material. A new incident learning archetype is also introduced, which intends to represent how reported incidents can be managed and translated into lessons in support of preventing event recurrence. This ‘learning product’ centric model visually articulates activities such as capturing the reported information, establishing causation and the iterative nature of developing a learning product. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Sizing and Operation of Airport Infrastructures in Support of Electric-Powered Aviation
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020040 - 03 Feb 2021
Viewed by 536
Abstract
The adoption of hybrid-electric aircraft is expected to have a considerable impact on airport operations, with the need of new infrastructural requirements to support electric-powered fleets. In particular, battery-charging requirements shall play a decisive role. Preliminary investigations useful to perform scenario studies for [...] Read more.
The adoption of hybrid-electric aircraft is expected to have a considerable impact on airport operations, with the need of new infrastructural requirements to support electric-powered fleets. In particular, battery-charging requirements shall play a decisive role. Preliminary investigations useful to perform scenario studies for the future implementation of electric-powered aviation can take advantage of the ARES methodology presented here, which provides the optimal solution to the sizing of airport battery recharging infrastructures. Based on the flight schedule and on the specifications of the aircraft fleet and the charging equipment, the solution assesses the number and type of charging points, the related electrical consumption in terms of energy and power, and further information needed to guarantee the required operational level while minimizing the procurement and operating costs. The method allows considering and comparing two charging strategies: plug-in recharge and battery swapping. Energy price variation in time is also taken into account and a full description of the optimal time scheduling of recharging operations is provided. Application studies to the reconfiguration of two existing aerodromes, a General Aviation airport and a large regional hub, are discussed, showing the potential of the proposed approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Control of a Modular Iron Bird
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020039 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
This paper describes the control architecture and the control laws of a new concept of Modular Iron Bird aimed at reproducing flight loads to test mobile aerodynamic control surface actuators for small and medium size aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The iron bird [...] Read more.
This paper describes the control architecture and the control laws of a new concept of Modular Iron Bird aimed at reproducing flight loads to test mobile aerodynamic control surface actuators for small and medium size aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The iron bird control system must guarantee the actuation of counteracting forces. On one side, a hydraulic actuator simulates the hinge moments acting on the mobile surface due to aerodynamic and inertial effects during flight; on the other side, the actuator to be tested applies an active hinge moment to control the angular position of the same surface. Reference aerodynamic and inertial loads are generated by a flight simulation module to reproduce more realistic conditions arising during operations. The design of the control action is based on a dynamic model of the hydraulic plant used to generate loads. This system is controlled using a Proportional Integral Derivative control algorithm tuned with an optimization algorithm taking into account the closed loop dynamics of the actuator under testing, uncertainties and disturbances in the controlled plant. Numerical simulations are presented to show the effectiveness of the proposed architecture and control laws. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Constrained Urban Airspace Design for Large-Scale Drone-Based Delivery Traffic
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020038 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Large-scale adoption of drone-based delivery in urban areas promise societal benefits with respect to emissions and on-ground traffic congestion, as well as potential cost savings for drone-based logistic companies. However, for this to materialise, the ability of accommodating high volumes of drone traffic [...] Read more.
Large-scale adoption of drone-based delivery in urban areas promise societal benefits with respect to emissions and on-ground traffic congestion, as well as potential cost savings for drone-based logistic companies. However, for this to materialise, the ability of accommodating high volumes of drone traffic in an urban airspace is one of the biggest challenges. For unconstrained airspace, it has been shown that traffic alignment and segmentation can be used to mitigate conflict probability. The current study investigates the application of these principles to a highly constrained airspace. We propose two urban airspace concepts, applying road-based analogies of two-way and one-way streets by imposing horizontal structure. Both of the airspace concepts employ heading-altitude rules to vertically segment cruising traffic according to their travel direction. These airspace configurations also feature transition altitudes to accommodate turning flights that need to decrease the flight speed in order to make safe turns at intersections. While using fast-time simulation experiments, the performance of these airspace concepts is compared and evaluated for multiple traffic demand densities in terms of safety, stability, and efficiency. The results reveal that an effective way to structure drone traffic in a constrained urban area is to have vertically segmented altitude layers with respect to travel direction as well as horizontal constraints imposed to the flow of traffic. The study also makes recommendations for areas of future research, which are aimed at supporting dynamic traffic demand patterns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fuel Tankering: Economic Benefits and Environmental Impact for Flights Up to 1500 NM (Full Tankering) and 2500 NM (Partial Tankering)
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020037 - 31 Jan 2021
Viewed by 443
Abstract
The majority of emissions from aviation come from the combustion of the fuel required to operate each flight. Keeping the fuel consumption required for a safe flight to the absolute minimum is therefore the simplest and most effective way to ensure that emissions [...] Read more.
The majority of emissions from aviation come from the combustion of the fuel required to operate each flight. Keeping the fuel consumption required for a safe flight to the absolute minimum is therefore the simplest and most effective way to ensure that emissions from that flight are kept to a minimum. In practice, however, the fuel load is determined by each aircraft operator on the basis of a number of criteria maximizing first cost efficiency, rather than fuel savings. In this context, tankering is the practice of carrying more fuel than is necessary for the safe execution of the flight to avoid or minimize refueling at the destination airport. It offers an economic advantage when there is a significant difference in fuel prices between the departure and arrival airports, but considerably increases the amount of emissions produced, because the more fuel an aircraft carries, the heavier it is, and carrying this extra weight increases its fuel consumption. This paper presents the steps followed by EUROCONTROL in conducting a first study to estimate the number of times this practice would offer an economic benefit and the amount of extra CO2 emissions that would result. This study, limited to flights up to 1500 and 2500 NM, corresponding mainly to short and medium-haul flights, estimates that, in 2018, 21% of ECAC (In this paper, ECAC refers to the geographical region defined by the 44 member states that signed the European Civil Aviation Conference) flights would perform fuel tankering beneficially. This would represent a net saving of 265 M€ per year for the airlines, but the burning of 286,000 tonnes of additional fuel (equivalent to 0.54% of ECAC jet fuel used), or 901,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. At a time when aviation is challenged for its contribution to climate change, the use of fuel tankering for economic reasons is therefore highly questionable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mitigation of Non-CO2 Aviation’s Climate Impact by Changing Cruise Altitudes
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020036 - 31 Jan 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
Aviation is seeking for ways to reduce its climate impact caused by CO2 emissions and non-CO2 effects. Operational measures which change overall flight altitude have the potential to reduce climate impact of individual effects, comprising CO2 but in particular non-CO [...] Read more.
Aviation is seeking for ways to reduce its climate impact caused by CO2 emissions and non-CO2 effects. Operational measures which change overall flight altitude have the potential to reduce climate impact of individual effects, comprising CO2 but in particular non-CO2 effects. We study the impact of changes of flight altitude, specifically aircraft flying 2000 feet higher and lower, with a set of global models comprising chemistry-transport, chemistry-climate and general circulation models integrating distinct aviation emission inventories representing such alternative flight altitudes, estimating changes in climate impact of aviation by quantifying radiative forcing and induced temperature change. We find in our sensitivity study that flying lower leads to a reduction of radiative forcing of non-CO2 effects together with slightly increased CO2 emissions and impacts, when cruise speed is not modified. Flying higher increases radiative forcing of non-CO2 effects by about 10%, together with a slight decrease of CO2 emissions and impacts. Overall, flying lower decreases aviation-induced temperature change by about 20%, as a decrease of non-CO2 impacts by about 30% dominates over slightly increasing CO2 impacts assuming a sustained emissions scenario. Those estimates are connected with a large but unquantified uncertainty. To improve the understanding of mechanisms controlling the aviation climate impact, we study the geographical distributions of aviation-induced modifications in the atmosphere, together with changes in global radiative forcing and suggest further efforts in order to reduce long standing uncertainties. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of a Simulation Tool for an Environmentally Friendly Aircraft Cargo Fire Protection System
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020035 - 30 Jan 2021
Viewed by 409
Abstract
One of the objectives of the CleanSky-2 project is to develop an Environmentally Friendly Fire Protection (EFFP) system to substitute halon for the aircraft cargo hold. For this, an aircraft demonstrator including the cargo hold was equipped with a nitrogen-based fire suppression system. [...] Read more.
One of the objectives of the CleanSky-2 project is to develop an Environmentally Friendly Fire Protection (EFFP) system to substitute halon for the aircraft cargo hold. For this, an aircraft demonstrator including the cargo hold was equipped with a nitrogen-based fire suppression system. The demonstrator is located in the Flight Test Facility (FTF) low-pressure vessel and can thus be subjected to realistic cruise pressure conditions and take-off and descent pressure profiles. As a design tool, a zonally refined simulation model to predict the local oxygen and nitrogen concentration distribution in the cargo hold has been developed using the Indoor Environment Simulation Suite (IESS). The model allows for fast transient simulations of the suppression system operation. This paper presents a model validation case of knockdown during cruising, followed by a holding phase and descent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wind-Tunnel Measurement of Differential Pressure on the Surface of a Dynamically Inflatable Wing Cell
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020034 - 29 Jan 2021
Viewed by 466
Abstract
An instrumentation system for in-situ measurement of the inner-outer pressure differential at the upper and lower surfaces of dynamically inflatable wings is designed and tested, revealing important insights into the aerodynamic characteristics of inflatable airfoils. Wind tunnel tests demonstrated full capability of low-pressure [...] Read more.
An instrumentation system for in-situ measurement of the inner-outer pressure differential at the upper and lower surfaces of dynamically inflatable wings is designed and tested, revealing important insights into the aerodynamic characteristics of inflatable airfoils. Wind tunnel tests demonstrated full capability of low-pressure differential readings in the range of 1.0–120 Pa, covering speeds from 3 to 10 m/s at angles of attack from −20 to +25°. Readings were stable, presenting coefficients of variation from 2% to 7% over the operational flight envelope. The experimental data confirmed the occurrence of a bottom leading-edge recirculation bubble, linked to the low Reynolds regime and the presence of an air intake. It supported the proposition of a novel approach to aerodynamic characterization based on local pressure differentials, which takes in account the confined airflow structure and provides lift forces estimations compatible with practical observation. The results were also compatible with data previously obtained following different strategies and were shown to be effective for parameterizing the inflation and stall phenomena. Overall, the instrumentation may be applied straightforwardly as a flight-test equipment, and it can be further converted into collapse alert and prevention systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Aircraft Routing Strategies for North Atlantic Flights by Using AirTraf 2.0
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020033 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Climate-optimized routing is an operational measure to effectively reduce the climate impact of aviation with a slight increase in aircraft operating costs. This study examined variations in the flight characteristics among five aircraft routing strategies and discusses several characteristics of those routing strategies [...] Read more.
Climate-optimized routing is an operational measure to effectively reduce the climate impact of aviation with a slight increase in aircraft operating costs. This study examined variations in the flight characteristics among five aircraft routing strategies and discusses several characteristics of those routing strategies concerning typical weather conditions over the North Atlantic. The daily variability in the North Atlantic weather patterns was analyzed by using the European Center Hamburg general circulation model (ECHAM) and the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) Atmospheric Chemistry (EMAC) model in the specified dynamics mode from December 2008 to August 2018. All days of the ten complete winters and summers in the simulations were classified into five weather types for winter and into three types for summer. The obtained frequency for each of the weather types was in good agreement with the literature data; and then representative days for each weather type were selected. Moreover, a total of 103 North Atlantic flights of an Airbus A330 aircraft were simulated with five aircraft routing strategies for each representative day by using the EMAC model with the air traffic simulation submodel AirTraf. For every weather type, climate-optimized routing shows the lowest climate impact, at which a trade-off exists between the operating costs and the climate impact. Cost-optimized routing lies between the time- and fuel-optimized routings and achieves the lowest operating costs by taking the best compromise between flight time and fuel use. The aircraft routing for contrail avoidance shows the second lowest climate impact; however, this routing causes extra operating costs. Our methodology could be extended to statistical analysis based on long-term simulations to clarify the relationship between the aircraft routing characteristics and weather conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Risk-Based Operational Bird Strike Prevention
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020032 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
Bird strike prevention in civil aviation has traditionally focused on the airport perimeter. Since the risk of especially damaging bird strikes outside the airport boundaries is rising, this paper investigates the safety potential of operational bird strike prevention involving pilots and controllers. In [...] Read more.
Bird strike prevention in civil aviation has traditionally focused on the airport perimeter. Since the risk of especially damaging bird strikes outside the airport boundaries is rising, this paper investigates the safety potential of operational bird strike prevention involving pilots and controllers. In such a concept, controllers would be equipped with a bird strike advisory system, allowing them to delay departures which are most vulnerable to the consequences of bird strikes in case of high bird strike risk. An initial study has shown the strong potential of the concept to prevent bird strikes in case of perfect bird movement prediction. This paper takes the research to the next level by taking into account the limited predictability of bird tracks. As such, the collision avoidance algorithm is extended to a bird strike risk algorithm. The risk of bird strikes is calculated for birds expected to cross the extended runway center line and to cause aircraft damage upon impact. By specifically targeting these birds and excluding birds lingering on the runway which are taken care of by the local wildlife control, capacity reductions should be limited, and the implementation remain feasible. The extrapolation of bird tracks is performed by simple linear regression based on the bird positions known at the intended take-off times. To calculate the probability of collision, uncertainties resulting from variability in bird velocity and track are included. The study demonstrates the necessity to limit alerts to potentially damaging strikes with birds crossing the extended runway center line to keep the imposed delays tolerable for airports operating at their capacity limits. It is shown that predicting bird movements based on simple linear regression without considering individual bird behavior is insufficient to achieve a safety-effect. Hence, in-depth studies of multi-year bird data to develop bird behavior models and reliable predictions are recommended for future research. This is expected to facilitate the implementation of a bird strike advisory system satisfying both safety and capacity aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Air Transportation—Operations and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
On Probabilistic Risk of Aircraft Collision along Air Corridors
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020031 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
The separation of aircraft in cruising flight in air corridors is based on the assurance of an extremely low probability of collision due to position inaccuracy caused by navigation errors, atmospheric disturbances, or other factors. The appropriate standard is the International Civil Aviation [...] Read more.
The separation of aircraft in cruising flight in air corridors is based on the assurance of an extremely low probability of collision due to position inaccuracy caused by navigation errors, atmospheric disturbances, or other factors. The appropriate standard is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Target Level of Safety (TLS) of frequency of collision less than 5 × 10−9 per flight hour. An upper bound for the collision probability per unit distance is the probability of coincidence, in the case of aircraft flying at the same speed along parallel tracks in the same direction. This leads to the case of two aircraft flying at a constant separation, for which at least three probabilities of coincidence can be calculated: (i) the maximum probability of coincidence at the most likely point; (ii) the cumulative probability of coincidence integrated along the flight path; and (iii) the cumulative probability of coincidence integrated over all space. These three probabilities of coincidence are applied to the old standard and new reduced vertical separations of 2000 ft and 1000 ft respectively, for comparison with the ICAO TLS, and also to assess their suitability as safety metrics. The possibility is raised of complementing the ICAO TLS 5 × 10−9 per hour, which is suitable for the cumulative probability of collision, by two additional safety metrics: (i) one per hour flown squared, which is suitable for comparison with the maximum joint probability density of collision; and (ii) another times hour flown, for comparison with the three-dimensional cumulative probability of coincidence. These three metrics (i) to (iii) have distinct dimensions, give different information, and could be alternatives or supplements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Aerospace Sciences and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Automated Defect Detection and Decision-Support in Gas Turbine Blade Inspection
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020030 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 494
Abstract
Background—In the field of aviation, maintenance and inspections of engines are vitally important in ensuring the safe functionality of fault-free aircrafts. There is value in exploring automated defect detection systems that can assist in this process. Existing effort has mostly been directed at [...] Read more.
Background—In the field of aviation, maintenance and inspections of engines are vitally important in ensuring the safe functionality of fault-free aircrafts. There is value in exploring automated defect detection systems that can assist in this process. Existing effort has mostly been directed at artificial intelligence, specifically neural networks. However, that approach is critically dependent on large datasets, which can be problematic to obtain. For more specialised cases where data are sparse, the image processing techniques have potential, but this is poorly represented in the literature. Aim—This research sought to develop methods (a) to automatically detect defects on the edges of engine blades (nicks, dents and tears) and (b) to support the decision-making of the inspector when providing a recommended maintenance action based on the engine manual. Findings—For a small sample test size of 60 blades, the combined system was able to detect and locate the defects with an accuracy of 83%. It quantified morphological features of defect size and location. False positive and false negative rates were 46% and 17% respectively based on ground truth. Originality—The work shows that image-processing approaches have potential value as a method for detecting defects in small data sets. The work also identifies which viewing perspectives are more favourable for automated detection, namely, those that are perpendicular to the blade surface. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Probabilistic Prediction of Separation Buffer to Compensate for the Closing Effect on Final Approach
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020029 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
The air traffic is mainly divided into en-route flight segments, arrival and departure segments inside the terminal maneuvering area, and ground operations at the airport. To support utilizing available capacity more efficiently, in our contribution we focus on the prediction of arrival procedures, [...] Read more.
The air traffic is mainly divided into en-route flight segments, arrival and departure segments inside the terminal maneuvering area, and ground operations at the airport. To support utilizing available capacity more efficiently, in our contribution we focus on the prediction of arrival procedures, in particular, the time-to-fly from the turn onto the final approach course to the threshold. The predictions are then used to determine advice for the controller regarding time-to-lose or time-to-gain for optimizing the separation within a sequence of aircraft. Most prediction methods developed so far provide only a point estimate for the time-to-fly. Complementary, we see the need to further account for the uncertain nature of aircraft movement based on a probabilistic prediction approach. This becomes very important in cases where the air traffic system is operated at its limits to prevent safety-critical incidents, e.g., separation infringements due to very tight separation. Our approach is based on the Quantile Regression Forest technique that can provide a measure of uncertainty of the prediction not only in form of a prediction interval but also by generating a probability distribution over the dependent variable. While the data preparation, model training, and tuning steps are identical to classic Random Forest methods, in the prediction phase, Quantile Regression Forests provide a quantile function to express the uncertainty of the prediction. After developing the model, we further investigate the interpretation of the results and provide a way for deriving advice to the controller from it. With this contribution, there is now a tool available that allows a more sophisticated prediction of time-to-fly, depending on the specific needs of the use case and which helps to separate arriving aircraft more efficiently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Data Science to Aviation)
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Open AccessArticle
Toward ATM Resiliency: A Deep CNN to Predict Number of Delayed Flights and ATFM Delay
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020028 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 427
Abstract
The European Air Traffic Management Network (EATMN) is comprised of various stakeholders and actors. Accordingly, the operations within EATMN are planned up to six months ahead of target date (tactical phase). However, stochastic events and the built-in operational flexibility (robustness), along with other [...] Read more.
The European Air Traffic Management Network (EATMN) is comprised of various stakeholders and actors. Accordingly, the operations within EATMN are planned up to six months ahead of target date (tactical phase). However, stochastic events and the built-in operational flexibility (robustness), along with other factors, result in demand and capacity imbalances that lead to delayed flights. The size of the EATMN and its complexity challenge the prediction of the total network delay using analytical methods or optimization approaches. We face this challenge by proposing a deep convolutional neural network (DCNN), which takes capacity regulations as the input. DCNN architecture successfully improves the prediction results by 50 percent (compared to random forest as the baseline model). In fact, the trained model on 2016 and 2017 data is able to predict 2018 with a mean absolute percentage error of 22% and 14% for the delay and delayed traffic, respectively. This study presents a method to provide more accurate situational awareness, which is a must for the topic of network resiliency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aeronautical Informatics)
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