Aiming at developing systems which enable environmentally sustainable flight operations, SGO part of the Clean Sky is working on the implementation of three new operational concepts suitable of being implemented on board through future Flight Management functions.
Based on promising results through Laboratory test, ATAEGINA project should contribute to evaluate those concepts on a real operational environment by involving an Airbus equipped airline to:
- Analyze the new proposed Flight Management functions and their compatibility with actual operations;
- Assess the environmental performance of those new functions, in comparison with actual operations, throughout an operational test plan and corresponding statistical analysis.
ATAEGINA (Airline Trials of Environmental Green Flight Management Functions) is a Research & Development project funded by the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative and project-managed by Pildo Labs. It is designed to evaluate and test three new operational concepts (ECO STEP, A-IGS and MCDP) on real daily operations, implying random perturbation factors and real flight conditions.
- The MCDPs (Multi Criteria Departure Procedure) are based on Noise Abatement Departure Procedures (NADPs) with the difference that, apart from providing noise reduction on the airport surrounding areas, the intent is to reduce the fuel burn which minimizes the COC (Cash Operation Costs) and the emissions of CO2 and NOx during departure.
- The ECO STEP concept is an optimized multi-step procedure, used mainly for extended range cruise, the objective of which is the computation of an optimized cruise profile (in pre-flight and during flight) which aims at minimizing fuel consumption and/or flight time.
- The A-IGS is a class of steeper approach operation which is computed dynamically on board by the FMS.
Aside from the A-IGS concept, which related ATAEGINA activities were stopped in accordance with coordinator, ECO STEP and MCDP concepts were evaluated by analysing its compatibility with airline aircraft operations and performing a safety assessment.
Initially, MCDP flight simulations were successfully performed demonstrating the compatibility of the new functions introduced for the MCDP operation in non-automatic execution with the current flight management functions. Furthermore, it was intended to execute ECO STEP simulation tests. However, due to large delay in obtaining nominal data from transoceanic flights and the unavailability to provide with the ECO STEP profiles, the simulation tests were not carried out.
Then, a real MCDP flight trial campaign was planned and executed from January 2016 until April 2016. Using the data recorded during the MCDP flight trial campaign, different assessments were performed. Whilst considering the conclusion from the full assessment, the over-riding conclusion to be drawn from the MCDP flight campaign is that MCDP operation is a new operational concept that is feasible to be carried out in daily operations, and it could be fully accepted by flight crew with some minor procedure modifications. However, due to the short number of MCDP flights performed, there are no conclusive results regarding the benefits that MCDP could provide in noise, fuel and emissions reduction.
Finally, an analysis related to MCDP integration/certification aspects was carried out presenting the different integration approaches, identifying on-board equipment modifications and regulations to be certified.