Using wind observations from nearby aircraft to update the optimal descent trajectory in real-time
Document typeConference report
Rights accessOpen Access
The ability to meet a controlled time of arrival during a continuous descent operation will enable environmentally friendly and fuel efficient descent operations while simultane- ously maintaining airport throughput. However, if the wind fore- cast used to compute the initial trajectory plan is not accurate enough, the guidance system will need to correct time deviations from the plan during the execution of the descent. Previous work proposed an on-board guidance strategy based on model predictive control, which repeatedly updates the trajectory plan in real-time from the current aircraft state and for the remainder of the descent. However, the wind conditions downstream, at altitudes not explored yet, were difficult to predict due to the lack of data. This paper shows the potential benefits of using wind observations, broadcast by nearby aircraft, to reconstruct the wind profile downstream. The wind profile in the trajectory opti- mization problem is modeled as a spline, which control points are updated to fit the observations before re-planning the trajectory. Results from simulations using realistic wind data show that the performance of model predictive control significantly improves when including up-to-date wind observations, in terms of time and energy errors at the metering fix and fuel consumption.
CitationDalmau, R.; Prats, X.; Baxley, B. Using wind observations from nearby aircraft to update the optimal descent trajectory in real-time. A: USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminars. "Proceedings of the 13th USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminar". 2019.