Special Issue "Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Alejandro Murrieta-Mendoza
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Group for Aviation, Centre for Applied Research on Education, Amsterdam University of Applied Science, Amstelcampus, Weesperzijde 190, 1097 DZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: avionics; trajectory optimization; metaheuristic algorithms; graph search; control systems
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Air traffic has incremented in the last years, bringing positive consequences with a greater flow of passengers and merchandise. However, this traffic increment has produced higher levels of pollution released into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel burn, as well as the saturation of different air zones. These negative effects will worsen, as the number of aircrafts in service will increase in the forthcoming years as Latin American and Asian markets continue to develop.

A solution to these problems is to design efficient reference trajectories to be followed by aircrafts flying to their destinations. Efficient trajectories ideally result in both a reduction of flight time and fuel burn. This way, pollution can be reduced, as well as flight costs. This applies to both airborne aircrafts and aircrafts traveling within the taxiways at the airport.

The aircraft trajectories’ ultimate goal is to fly under the free flight concept. This means that aircrafts would follow reduced separation rules allowing aircrafts to fly practically anywhere in the search space. Therefore, the airspace capacity can be augmented. The free flight concept brings as a consequence new challenges to aircraft trajectory design. For example, the means of efficient negotiation between aircrafts should be implemented, as many aircrafts might want to fly on the same path (i.e., follow a jet stream), and alternate trajectories should be computed due to traffic or weather degradation. These new trajectories should also respect the required time of arrival constraints at different waypoints.

Similar problems might occur with drones and UAVs. For example, the most economical trajectory could be required to cover the largest area with available energy. Similar negotiation problems such as the ones found with conventional aircrafts can also be present. This is true for formation flights or independent drones flying at similar trajectories. Negotiation with conventional aircrafts might be required as well, as drones share airspace with conventional aircrafts.

The Special Issue addresses the broad topics related to aircraft trajectory design and welcomes papers dealing, but not limited to, (i) aircraft trajectory design, (ii) aircraft trajectory optimization, (iii) trajectories pollution computation, (iv) aircraft trajectory negotiation, (v) runaway optimization, (vi) airspace management, (vii) weather predictions and big data, (viii) trajectory options sets and rerouting, and (ix) drones and UAVs trajectories.

Dr. Alejandro Murrieta-Mendoza
Guest Editor

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 1400 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.

Keywords

  • aviation
  • trajectory optimization
  • fuel burn and flight cost
  • pollution
  • air space
  • avoidance and collision
  • airborne operations
  • air traffic control and management
  • airports taxiways
  • NextGEN and SESARS
  • trajectory negotiation
  • 3D and 4D trajectories
  • re-routing
  • drones and UAVs

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
3D Cruise Trajectory Optimization Inspired by a Shortest Path Algorithm
Aerospace 2020, 7(7), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7070099 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1333
Abstract
Aircrafts require a large amount of fuel in order to generate enough power to perform a flight. That consumption causes the emission of polluting particles such as carbon dioxide, which is implicated in global warming. This paper proposes an algorithm which can provide [...] Read more.
Aircrafts require a large amount of fuel in order to generate enough power to perform a flight. That consumption causes the emission of polluting particles such as carbon dioxide, which is implicated in global warming. This paper proposes an algorithm which can provide the 3D reference trajectory that minimizes the flight costs and the fuel consumption. The proposed algorithm was conceived using the Floyd–Warshall methodology as a reference. Weather was taken into account by using forecasts provided by Weather Canada. The search space was modeled as a directional weighted graph. Fuel burn was computed using the Base of Aircraft DAta (BADA) model developed by Eurocontrol. The trajectories delivered by the developed algorithm were compared to long-haul flight plans computed by a European airliner and to as-flown trajectories obtained from Flightradar24®. The results reveal that up to 2000 kg of fuel can be reduced per flight, and flight time can be also reduced by up to 11 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
A Practical Approach to Monitor Capacity under the CDM Approach
Aerospace 2020, 7(7), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7070101 - 21 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1368
Abstract
The operations of take-off and landing at hub airports are often subject to a wide variety of delays; the effects of these delays impact not only the related stakeholders, such as aircraft operators, air-traffic control unity and ground handlers but as part of [...] Read more.
The operations of take-off and landing at hub airports are often subject to a wide variety of delays; the effects of these delays impact not only the related stakeholders, such as aircraft operators, air-traffic control unity and ground handlers but as part of the European network, delays are propagated through the network. As a result, Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) is being employed as a methodology for increasing the efficiency of Air Traffic Management (ATM), through the involvement of partners within the airports. Under CDM, there are some strategic common objectives regardless the airport or the partner specific interest to improve operational efficiency, predictability and punctuality to the ATM network and airport stakeholders. Monitoring and controlling some strategic areas such as, Efficiency, Capacity, Safety and Environment is needed to achieve the benefits. Therefore, the present work aims to provide a framework to monitor the accuracy of capacity in the three main flight phases. It aims to provide a comprehensible and practical approach to monitoring capacity by identifying and proposing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on the A-CDM Milestone Approach to optimise the use of available capacity. To illustrate our approach, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is used as case study as a full A-CDM airport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
Trajectory Optimization and Analytic Solutions for High-Speed Dynamic Soaring
Aerospace 2020, 7(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7040047 - 17 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1942
Abstract
Dynamic soaring is a non-powered flight mode that enables extremely high speeds by extracting energy from thin shear wind layers. Trajectory optimization is applied to construct solutions of the maximum speed achievable with dynamic soaring and to determine characteristic properties of that flight [...] Read more.
Dynamic soaring is a non-powered flight mode that enables extremely high speeds by extracting energy from thin shear wind layers. Trajectory optimization is applied to construct solutions of the maximum speed achievable with dynamic soaring and to determine characteristic properties of that flight mode, using appropriate models of the vehicle dynamics and the shear wind layer. Furthermore, an energy-based flight mechanics model of high-speed dynamic soaring is developed, with reference made to trajectory optimization. With this model, analytic solutions for high-speed dynamic soaring are derived. The key factors for the maximum speed performance are identified and their effects are determined. Furthermore, analytic solutions for other, non-performance quantities of significance for high-speed dynamic soaring are derived. The analytic solutions virtually agree with the results achieved with the trajectory optimization using the vehicle dynamics model. This is considered a validation of the energy-based model yielding analytic solutions. The analytical solutions are also valid for the high subsonic Mach number region involving significant compressibility effects. This is of importance for future developments in high-speed dynamic soaring, as modern gliders are now capable of reaching that Mach number region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
Trajectory Optimization of Extended Formation Flights for Commercial Aviation
Aerospace 2019, 6(9), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6090100 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2386
Abstract
This paper presents a trajectory optimization study that has been conducted using a recently developed tool for the synthesis and analysis of extended flight formations of long-haul commercial aircraft, with the aim to minimize overall fuel consumption. In extended flight formations, trailing aircraft [...] Read more.
This paper presents a trajectory optimization study that has been conducted using a recently developed tool for the synthesis and analysis of extended flight formations of long-haul commercial aircraft, with the aim to minimize overall fuel consumption. In extended flight formations, trailing aircraft can attain an appreciable reduction in induced drag and associated reduction in fuel burn by flying in the upwash of the lead aircraft’s wake. In the present study, a previously developed multi-phase optimal control (MOC) framework for the synthesis of two-ship flight formations has been extended to include the assembly of three-ship flight formations. Using the extended tool, various numerical experiments have been conducted in relation to the assembly of two-ship and three-ship flight formations in long-haul operations across the North-Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, numerical experiments have been carried out to examine the impact of wind fields on the synthesis and performance of flight formations. Additionally, a parametric investigation has been conducted to assess the sensitivity of the solutions with respect to the degree of the induced drag reduction that might be attained by the trailing aircraft in a formation. The results of the various numerical experiments reveal that formation flight can result in appreciable reductions in fuel burn in comparison to flying solo—particularly when larger formation strings are permitted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
Departure and Arrival Routes Optimization Near Large Airports
Aerospace 2019, 6(7), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6070080 - 12 Jul 2019
Viewed by 2833
Abstract
The bottleneck of today’s airspace is the Terminal Maneuvering Areas (TMA), where aircraft leave their routes to descend to an airport or take off and reach the en-route sector. To avoid congestion in these areas, an efficient design of departure and arrival routes [...] Read more.
The bottleneck of today’s airspace is the Terminal Maneuvering Areas (TMA), where aircraft leave their routes to descend to an airport or take off and reach the en-route sector. To avoid congestion in these areas, an efficient design of departure and arrival routes is necessary. In this paper, a solution for designing departure and arrival routes is proposed, which takes into account the runway configuration, the surroundings of the airport and operational constraints such as limited slopes or turn angles. The routes consist of two parts: a horizontal path in a graph constructed by sampling the TMA around the runway, to which is associated a cone of altitudes. The set of all routes is optimized by the Simulated Annealing metaheuristic. In the process and at each iteration, each route is computed by defining adequately the cost of the arcs in the graph and then searching a path on it. The costs are chosen so as to avoid zigzag behaviors as much as possible. Two tests were performed, one on an instance taken from the literature and the other on an artificial problem designed specifically to test this approach. The obtained results are satisfying with regard to the current state of air operations management and constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
Trajectory Planning in Time-Varying Adverse Weather for Fixed-Wing Aircraft Using Robust Model Predictive Control
Aerospace 2019, 6(6), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6060068 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3916
Abstract
The avoidance of adverse weather is an inevitable safety-relevant task in aviation. Automated avoidance can help to improve safety and reduce costs in manned and unmanned aviation. For this purpose, a straightforward trajectory planner for a single-source-single-target problem amidst moving obstacles is presented. [...] Read more.
The avoidance of adverse weather is an inevitable safety-relevant task in aviation. Automated avoidance can help to improve safety and reduce costs in manned and unmanned aviation. For this purpose, a straightforward trajectory planner for a single-source-single-target problem amidst moving obstacles is presented. The functional principle is explained and tested in several scenarios with time-varying polygonal obstacles based on thunderstorm nowcast. It is furthermore applicable to all kinds of nonholonomic planning problems amidst nonlinear moving obstacles, whose motion cannot be described analytically. The presented resolution-complete combinatorial planner uses deterministic state sampling to continuously provide globally near-time-optimal trajectories for the expected case. Inherent uncertainty in the prediction of dynamic environments is implicitly taken into account by a closed feedback loop of a model predictive controller and explicitly by bounded margins. Obstacles are anticipatory avoided while flying inside a mission area. The computed trajectories are time-monotone and meet the nonholonomic turning-flight constraint of fixed-wing aircraft and therefore do not require postprocessing. Furthermore, the planner is capable of considering a time-varying goal and automatically plan holding patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Trajectory Design and Optimization)
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