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Fuel Efficient Air Traffic Control

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  1. Fuel Efficient Air Traffic Control Maryam Kamgarpour, PhD Student Claire Tomlin, Research Adviser John Robinson, NASA Ames Research Center December 17, 2009

  2. Outline • Motivations for Improving Fuel Efficiency of Air Transportation • Background on Air Traffic Control • Study on Fuel Efficient Approach Procedure • Conclusions and Future Work

  3. Motivations • Air transportation is responsible for about 25% of global warming contributions of the transportation sector in the United States [International Council for Clean Transportation, 2009] • Air Traffic causes 4% of Radiative Forcing • This number has grown 45% since 1992 • It is predicted to grow by 150% in 2036

  4. Improving Environmental Performance ofAir Transportation • Use of bio fuels • Currently algae-based fuels being tested • Challenges such as energy efficiency • Design of fuel efficient aircraft • Improving engine and aerodynamics design • Use of light weight composite material • Design of fuel optimal routes

  5. Improvement in Aircraft Design 2009 Source: The International Council of Clean Transportation

  6. Design of Fuel Efficient Routes • For each aircraft one can optimize: • Cruise altitude and speed • Routes based on wind and weather • Climb and descent profiles • However, aircraft must operate within the constraints of the air traffic structure

  7. Air Traffic - Highways in Space Figure 1 – High-altitude jetways

  8. Air Traffic Control Figure 2a - Air Traffic Control Centers in the United States Figure 2b - Northern California Terminal Radar Approach Control

  9. Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) Continuous Descent (Optimized Profile) Approach is assumed to reduce fuel burn and noise Figure 3b - Today’s typical descent path Figure 3a - Continuous Descent Approach path

  10. Fuel Consumption Rate In Cruise Mode, fuel consumption rate decreases with increasing altitude Figure 4 - Fuel rate in kg/nmi for B737

  11. Standard Arrival Approach Heterogeneous arrivals must be separated enough to land safely Altitude and speed are chosen based on a common subset of aircraft

  12. Standard Arrival Routes 19000 18000 8000 7000 Figure 5 - MOD3 STAR for SFO Airport

  13. Analyzing Benefits of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) Analysis Approach 1 Take current aircraft arrival trajectories 2 Move the constant altitude (Level) section to a high altitude Objective: Study fuel benefits of implementing CDA in the current airspace structure

  14. Results on Airport Savings Scope of the Study 5 days of data for ATL, SFO, LAX airports 4 days of data for DFW, 1 day of data for JFK

  15. Constant Altitude Segments of a Standard Arrival Route Figure 6 – Constant Altitude Segments for SFO MOD3 Arrival

  16. Constant Altitude Segments Figure 7 – Atlanta ATL airport constant altitude level sections from four arrival posts Path extensions for separation result in constant altitude segments of arrival flight

  17. Analysis of Results Figure 8 - Fuel rate kg/min for B737 Implementing time-separation at higher altitudes would not improve fuel efficiency

  18. Conclusions and Future Work • Continuous Descent Approach in the current airspace restrictions will result on average savings of 50 kg fuel per flight • Current descent approaches are based on air traffic needs for maintaining separation • There is a trade-off between separation of aircraft and fuel savings that need to be analyzed

  19. Current Research and Real-World • Los Angeles LAX • Louisville • London Heathrow Airport

  20. Atlanta ATL Airport Arrivals Fuel Savings based on the Standard Arrival Route ERLIN FLCON HONIE CANUK Arrivals from the East result in more fuel savings when arriving on the Westerly runways

  21. Fuel Analysis Based on Routes and Runways ERLIN FLCON HONIE CANUK Arrival towards East Arrival towards West