The FLIP project aimed at developing and validating a Flight Management System (FMS) test bench compatible set of tools able to provide and consult actual airlines flight plans databases, and to inject into such FMS equipment under test specific flight plans representative of the dedicated robustness scenario to be validated. This work participated in the maturation of the green functions of the FMS which allowed an optimisation of the flight trajectories in view for example of reducing the fuel consumption and noise nuisance generated by the aircraft.
To do so, an extensive specification work was undertaken to define the tools and the overall system architecture. This task was followed by the development in parallel of several tools: a FIXM compliant database and its associated update process, a user-friendly Human-Machine Interface HMI, and a core-business module managing the communication (AOC A702 and industrial protocols) between the FMS test bench, the database and the HMI. Finally, integration and validation tests with the Topic Manager were carried out to ensure that the software modules met the requirements specified.
The consortium brought its expertise in big software application development - efficient management of a database with a large number of instances, multi-criteria queries in the database, batch processing, GUI design and graphical displays - and in aeronautical data management technology like WXXM/AIXM/FIXM thanks to participation in SESAR, OGC and Clean Sky projects.
This project aimed at developing and validating a Flight Management System (FMS) bench compatible tool able to provide and consult an actual airlines flight plan database as well as to inject into the FMS equipment under test specific plans representative of the dedicated robustness scenario to be validated. The implementation consists in two parts: a populated flight plan database and a software tool allowing the users and the test bench to interact with the database.
The database constituted for this project had to contain representative traffic to and from US as well as to and from EU, including transatlantic flights. Due to its state-of-the-art status, the Flight Information Exchange Model (FIXM) had been chosen to represent individual flight plans. It was an interoperable, XML-based exchange model capturing Flight and Flow information that is globally standardised.
Flight Plans archives are generally not publicly available. That is why we had to establish a partnership with two data providers to build up the database. FOXS provided us with a large panel of North American flight plans, while Eurocontrol made available European flight plans.
Since all flight plan data and aircraft data were provided as XML files in a file structure, the choice of a Native XML DBMS had been made. This technologic choice was much more straightforward than the choice of a Relational DBMS, which would have implied to design data models matching FIXM data elements. It was also much more flexible since Native XML DBMS were able to store data in any XML format.
The second part of the implementation consisted of a software application. It was an automatic flight data management tool, tightly integrated with the FMS test bench. This tool enabled the users:
- to administrate and to consult the flight plan database;
- to handle, visualise and inject dedicated flight plans selected for their representativeness of each validation scenario required to test the green FMS functions’ robustness.