Special Issue "Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Traffic and Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 7222

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Xavier Prats
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics-Aerospace division, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) -- BarcelonaTECH, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: aircraft operations; aircraft trajectory management; air traffic management; air transportation; environmental impact of air transportation; intelligent transportation systems; optimization; simulation; unmanned aerial systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cruise flight typically represents the longest flight phase, where most of the on-board fuel is burnt, most of the pollutant gases are emitted in the atmosphere, and where contrail-induced cloudiness might occur. Although aircraft aerodynamics and engines are carefully optimized for typical cruise altitudes, the lack of airspace capacity prevent airlines to plan and/or execute optimal trajectories due to multiple kinds of air traffic management (ATM) regulations and procedures. Moreover, different uncertainty sources, such as weather and airspace congestion itself, along with the communication, navigation, and surveillance capabilities of certain airspaces, might also have an important effect on how these trajectories are planned and executed.

There is still room for improvement in cruise operations in order to enhance flight efficiency while avoiding compromises to safety and airspace capacity. New on-board, ground-based or distributed technological enablers; 4-dimensional accurate and robust trajectory management; more accurate atmospheric and climate impact models; and new ATM paradigms and concepts of operation will certainly contribute to a cleaner, more profitable and sustainable aviation.

This Special Issue addresses a broad list of topics related to how cruise flight can be improved from a flight trajectory and air traffic management point of view. Papers related, but not limited to, the following topics are welcome:

  • (Robust) cruise trajectory planning, optimization, prediction, synchronization, negotiation, guidance, and execution;
  • Technological CNS enablers for improved cruise operations;
  • En-route airspace management and air traffic control;
  • En-route traffic flow management, trajectory options, and re-routing strategies;
  • En-route separation and strategies to increase en-route capacity;
  • Modelling and computation of gaseous emissions and climate impact due to cruise operations;
  • Weather forecasting and weather-related products for cruise operations; and
  • Modelling and computation of flight efficiency and airspace capacity performance indicators for cruise/en-route operations.

Dr. Xavier Prats
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • trajectory planning
  • trajectory optimization
  • flight dispatching
  • trajectory execution and guidance
  • trajectory-based operations
  • trajectory synchronization
  • robust planning and control
  • weather and aviation
  • aircraft emissions
  • climate impact
  • contrails
  • wake-vortex
  • separation
  • airspace capacity
  • airspace management
  • air traffic flow management
  • air traffic control
  • communications, navigation, surveillance
  • altimetry
  • performance indicators, performance assessments
  • airport and TMA (terminal manoeuvering areas) operations

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Communication
Air Traffic Prediction as a Video Prediction Problem Using Convolutional LSTM and Autoencoder
Aerospace 2021, 8(10), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8100301 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 645
Abstract
Accurate prediction of future air traffic situations is an essential task in many applications in air traffic management. This paper presents a new framework for predicting air traffic situations as a sequence of images from a deep learning perspective. An autoencoder with convolutional [...] Read more.
Accurate prediction of future air traffic situations is an essential task in many applications in air traffic management. This paper presents a new framework for predicting air traffic situations as a sequence of images from a deep learning perspective. An autoencoder with convolutional long short-term memory (ConvLSTM) is used, and a mixed loss function technique is proposed to generate better air traffic images than those obtained by using conventional L1 or L2 loss function. The feasibility of the proposed approach is demonstrated with real air traffic data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM)
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Article
Selective Simulated Annealing for Large Scale Airspace Congestion Mitigation
Aerospace 2021, 8(10), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8100288 - 05 Oct 2021
Viewed by 541
Abstract
This paper presents a methodology to minimize the airspace congestion of aircraft trajectories based on slot allocation techniques. The traffic assignment problem is modeled as a combinatorial optimization problem for which a selective simulated annealing has been developed. Based on the congestion encountered [...] Read more.
This paper presents a methodology to minimize the airspace congestion of aircraft trajectories based on slot allocation techniques. The traffic assignment problem is modeled as a combinatorial optimization problem for which a selective simulated annealing has been developed. Based on the congestion encountered by each aircraft in the airspace, this metaheuristic selects and changes the time of departure of the most critical flights in order to target the most relevant aircraft. The main objective of this approach is to minimize the aircraft speed vector disorder. The proposed algorithm was implemented and tested on simulated trajectories generated with real flight plans on a day of traffic over French airspace with 8800 flights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM)
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Article
Multimodal Analysis of Eye Movements and Fatigue in a Simulated Glass Cockpit Environment
Aerospace 2021, 8(10), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8100283 - 01 Oct 2021
Viewed by 689
Abstract
Pilot fatigue is a critical reason for aviation accidents related to human errors. Human-related accidents might be reduced if the pilots’ eye movement measures can be leveraged to predict fatigue. Eye tracking can be a non-intrusive viable approach that does not require the [...] Read more.
Pilot fatigue is a critical reason for aviation accidents related to human errors. Human-related accidents might be reduced if the pilots’ eye movement measures can be leveraged to predict fatigue. Eye tracking can be a non-intrusive viable approach that does not require the pilots to pause their current task, and the device does not need to be in direct contact with the pilots. In this study, the positive or negative correlations among the psychomotor vigilance test (PVT) measures (i.e., reaction times, number of false alarms, and number of lapses) and eye movement measures (i.e., pupil size, eye fixation number, eye fixation duration, visual entropy) were investigated. Then, fatigue predictive models were developed to predict fatigue using eye movement measures identified through forward and backward stepwise regressions. The proposed approach was implemented in a simulated short-haul multiphase flight mission involving novice and expert pilots. The results showed that the correlations among the measures were different based on expertise (i.e., novices vs. experts); thus, two predictive models were developed accordingly. In addition, the results from the regressions showed that either a single or a subset of the eye movement measures might be sufficient to predict fatigue. The results show the promise of using non-intrusive eye movements as an indicator for fatigue prediction and provides a foundation that can lead us closer to developing a near real-time warning system to prevent critical accidents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM)
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Article
Sensitivity Analysis of Maximum Circulation of Wake Vortex Encountered by En-Route Aircraft
Aerospace 2021, 8(7), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8070194 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 950
Abstract
Wake vortex encounters (WVE) can pose significant hazard for en-route aircraft. We studied the sensitivity of wake vortex (WV) circulation and decay to aircraft mass, altitude, velocity, density, time of catastrophic wake demise event, eddy dissipation rate, wing span, span-wise load factor, and [...] Read more.
Wake vortex encounters (WVE) can pose significant hazard for en-route aircraft. We studied the sensitivity of wake vortex (WV) circulation and decay to aircraft mass, altitude, velocity, density, time of catastrophic wake demise event, eddy dissipation rate, wing span, span-wise load factor, and WV core radius. Then, a tool was developed to compute circulations of WV generated/encountered by aircraft en-route, while disregarding unrealistic operational conditions. A comprehensive study is presented for most aircraft in the Base of Aircraft Data version 4.1 for different masses, altitudes, speeds, and separation values between generator and follower aircraft. The maximum WV circulation corresponds to A380-861 as generator: 864 and 840 m2/s at horizontal separation of 3 and 5 NM, respectively. In cruise environment, these WV may descend 1000 ft in 2.6 min and 2000 ft in 6.2 min, while retaining 74% and 49% of their initial strength, respectively. The maximum circulation of WV encountered by aircraft at horizontal separation of 3 NM from an A380-861 is 593, 726, and 745 m2/s, at FL200, FL300, and FL395, respectively. At 5 NM, the circulations decrease down to 578, 708, and 726 m2/s. Our results allow reducing WVE simulations only to critical scenarios, and thus perform more efficient test programs for computing aircraft upsets en-route. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM)
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Article
Visual Search and Conflict Mitigation Strategies Used by Expert en Route Air Traffic Controllers
Aerospace 2021, 8(7), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8070170 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 895
Abstract
The role of the en route air traffic control specialist (ATCS) is vital to maintaining safety and efficiency within the National Airspace System (NAS). ATCSs must vigilantly scan the airspace under their control and adjacent airspaces using an En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) [...] Read more.
The role of the en route air traffic control specialist (ATCS) is vital to maintaining safety and efficiency within the National Airspace System (NAS). ATCSs must vigilantly scan the airspace under their control and adjacent airspaces using an En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) radar display. The intent of this research is to provide an understanding of the expert controller visual search and aircraft conflict mitigation strategies that could be used as scaffolding methods during ATCS training. Interviews and experiments were conducted to elicit visual scanning and conflict mitigation strategies from the retired controllers who were employed as air traffic control instructors. The interview results were characterized and classified using various heuristics. In particular, representative visual scanpaths were identified, which accord with the interview results of the visual search strategies. The highlights of our findings include: (1) participants used systematic search patterns, such as circular, spiral, linear or quadrant-based, to extract operation-relevant information; (2) participants applied an information hierarchy when aircraft information was cognitively processed (altitude -> direction -> speed); (3) altitude or direction changes were generally preferred over speed changes when imminent potential conflicts were mitigated. Potential applications exist in the implementation of the findings into the training curriculum of candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM)
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Article
Air Traffic Management during Rare Events Such as a Pandemic: Paris Charles de Gaulle Case Study
Aerospace 2021, 8(6), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8060155 - 29 May 2021
Viewed by 1567
Abstract
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was the second European airport in terms of traffic in 2019, having transported 76.2 million passengers. Its large infrastructures include four runways, a large taxiway network, and 298 aircraft parking stands (131 contact) among three terminals. With the [...] Read more.
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was the second European airport in terms of traffic in 2019, having transported 76.2 million passengers. Its large infrastructures include four runways, a large taxiway network, and 298 aircraft parking stands (131 contact) among three terminals. With the current pandemic in place, the European air traffic network has declined by −65% flights when compared with 2019 traffic (pre-COVID-19), having a severe negative impact on the aviation industry. More and more often taxiways and runways are used as parking spaces for aircraft as consequence of the drastic decrease in air traffic. Furthermore, due to safety reasons, passenger terminals at many airports have been partially closed. In this work we want to study the effect of the reduction in the physical facilities at airports on airspace and airport capacity, especially in the Terminal Manoeuvring Area (TMA) airspace, and in the airport ground side. We have developed a methodology that considers rare events such as the current pandemic, and evaluates reduced access to airport facilities, considers air traffic management restrictions and evaluates the capacity of airport ground side and airspace. We built scenarios based on real public information on the current use of the airport facilities of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and conducted different experiments based on current and hypothetical traffic recovery scenarios. An already known optimization metaheuristic was implemented for optimizing the traffic with the aim of avoiding airspace conflicts and avoiding capacity overloads on the ground side. The results show that the main bottleneck of the system is the terminal capacity, as it starts to become congested even at low traffic (35% of 2019 traffic). When the traffic starts to increase, a ground delay strategy is effective for mitigating airspace conflicts; however, it reveals the need for additional runways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Operations and CNS/ATM)
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