Special Issue "Closing the Gap in Aircraft Trajectories: Enhancing Optimization and Prediction Approaches"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Manuel Soler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Aerospace Engineering Research Group, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28005 Madrid, Spain
Interests: low-thrust trajectory optimization; commercial aircraft trajectory optimization; meteorological uncertainty and air traffic management (ATM); aviation and climate impact
Prof. Dr. Jacco M. Hoekstra
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Control and Simulation Research Group, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: aeronautics; flight simulation; avionics; ATM

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Flying the ideal, optimal trajectory and vertical profile has been the holy grail of ATM research for decades. For this purpose, a lot of this research has been oriented towards a concept called Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO). In TBO, the trajectory becomes the fundamental element of the ATM system. The current ATM system is based on more tactical clearances. TBO should provide the capabilities, decision support tools, and automation to manage aircraft movement by trajectory. This shift from clearance-based to trajectory-based ATC should enable aircraft to plan and fly negotiated so-called business trajectories.

At the planning level, TBO aims at more efficient and environmentally friendly flight planning concepts, reducing airlines operating costs, allowing a climatic-friendly ATM system, while at the same time increasing the capacity of the system without jeopardizing its safety. Specific research domains within aircraft trajectory optimization with open questions include (but it is not limited to): the consideration of uncertainties in trajectory optimization, the assessment and minimization of climatic impact in aircraft operations, the modelling and resolution of multi-aircraft problems leading to system-wide solutions that are stable and resilient.

At the execution level, the question remains whether the extra investment, effort and communication are worth the yet unknown benefits. What if it becomes merely a more verbose clearance-based system, in which trajectory updates are as frequent as waypoint passing? Therefore, the key issue for solving conflicts or sequencing problems is a very high predictability. For research, one of the questions to address thus is: is this high predictability feasible and which methods are available to improve it.  

The mismatch between planned and actual trajectories caused, among others, by inherent uncertainties arising in aircraft operations, including airports, air traffic control interventions, and unavailable information, e.g., the cost index, and the take-off weight, constitute significant gaps that the scientific community need to tackle. The exploitation of data by means of artificial intelligence and causal models can lead to novel trajectory prediction approaches, which could facilitate the transition towards the TBO paradigm. Open research domains include novel approaches to propagate aircraft trajectory uncertainties, the deepen into artificial intelligence techniques for enhancing the prediction of aircraft trajectories, and the aggregation of different sources of uncertainties in trajectory predictions, notably weather via Ensemble Probabilistic Forecasts.

This special issue intends to bring recognition to the contribution of aircraft trajectory optimization and aircraft trajectory prediction techniques and will provide a forum to disseminate the latest research work with the aim of further stimulating interest in this area of great potential.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Robust aircraft trajectory optimization.
  • Aircraft trajectory optimization and climate change.
  • Uncertainty propagation in trajectory prediction.
  • Artificial Intelligence techniques applied to aircraft trajectory optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence techniques applied to trajectory prediction
  • Stable and resilient solutions to the ATM-System

Dr. Manuel Soler
Prof. Dr. Jacco M. Hoekstra
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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