Cleansky-Green Rotor Craft sub-project 5 aimed at developing and testing new flight procedures for both helicopters and tilt rotors, aiming at significantly reducing environmental impact in terms of noise and gas emissions.
This project contributed to this objective defining and validating, using an integrated Tilt Rotor-ATM simulation platform, new low noise ATC procedures for Tilt Rotor operations.
Low-noise procedures in particular will require to accurately track possibly complex and steep trajectories both in take-off and landing, using optimized paths to avoid highly populated areas, using tilt rotors that have the potential to cruise speeds and altitudes compatible with fixed-wing traffic while taking-off and landing similarly to a conventional helicopter. Such a strategy heavily relies on advanced navigation and piloting aids to guarantee an acceptable level of pilot workload while retaining the benefits of the optimized paths.
Moreover, future expansion of rotary-wing transportation will ask to fly in low visibility conditions under Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR), similarly to fixed-wing aircraft and using again sophisticated guidance means, as foreseen by SESAR, to ensure safety and low pilot workload. The transportation system will be strongly affected by the increased air traffic level and the need to control rotary-wing vehicles in IFR flight, in particular in terms of workload of the air traffic controllers.
The ATM scenario models developed by this proposal will describe the ATM operations for approach and tower/ground control for a short-medium range mission with regard to a context using these new procedures developed for tilt rotors. The inclusion of initial findings of the SESAR initiative on trajectory management will represent another aspect of the innovation of the ATM world taken on board by GRC simulation and of the synergies between the major private/public investments now on-going in Europe."
Given the increased mobility demand of goods and people, air transportation has become a major tool for economic and social development. Due to this context, travellers are placing greater emphasis on airfare, on respect for the environment and more direct point-to-point connections.
Future aircraft programs require the development of new aeronautical technologies and solutions for helicopters and tiltrotors in order to reduce the environmental impact, in terms of noise footprint, gaseous emissions and fuel consumption.
In particular, the use of tiltrotors in the context of civil aviation is considered as a major change in the current air traffic operational environment.
The main goal of the TRAVEL project was to define novel low noise tilt rotor procedures for the approach/landing and take off and assess the impact of tilt rotor on Air Traffic Controller and pilot operations.
This project contributed to the validation of technologies best fitting the pollution and noise reduction goals set for the tilt-rotor that will enter the market in the 2020s. The transportation system will be strongly affected by the increased air traffic level and the need to control rotary-wing vehicles in IFR flight, in particular in terms of workload of the air traffic controllers. Indeed, a key target of SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is that the future ATM system must safely and efficiently accommodate all type of aircraft and rotorcraft demand and assist all airspace users for the whole flight, from pre-departure operations to arrival at the stand. In this sense, the project contributes to the objective to define and validate, using an integrated Tilt Rotor-ATM simulation platform, new procedures (low environmental impact) analysing the ATCOs and pilot workload, situational awareness and acceptance of the tilt rotor procedure.
Project Context and Objectives:
The TRAVEL Project contributed to the objective of Cleansky-Green Rotor Craft sub-project 5 that is aimed at developing and testing new flight procedures for both helicopters and tilt rotors, reducing environmental impact in terms of noise and gas emissions. The main goal of the project was to define novel low noise tilt rotor procedures for the approach/landing and take off and assess the impact of tilt rotor on ATC operations. Such specific procedures shall ease rotorcraft access to airports, in particular to main hubs thanks to runway independent operations, thus providing their effective insertion in the air transport system.
The target time frame for the operational implementation of TRAVEL proposed procedures is 2020 and beyond, consequently it is expected that TRAVEL will pave the way in conjunction with SESAR programme, towards a significant evolution of the environment friendly operational procedures.
The work was break down into 1 WP for the Management and 5 Work Packages that are:
- Definition of the operational environment and the concept of operations for the use of a tilt rotor in an integrated ATC/tilt rotor environment.
- On the basis of the simulation requirements, the validation plan was developed and the technical requirements of the integrated ATC/TR platform were defined
- Specific tilt rotor procedures were developed on the basis of the identified scenario and concept of operation.
- Preparation of the distributed platform (ATC, Tiltrotor and connections) from both the operational and technical perspective.
- Execution of the validation exercises and the analysis of the results.
TRAVEL project contributed to reach the overall objective of Cleansky-Green Rotor Craft (GRC5) that is aimed at developing and testing new flight procedures for both helicopters and tilt rotors, aiming at significantly reduce environmental impact in terms of noise and gas emissions.
This project specifically addressed the acquisition of new knowledge on tiltrotor operations integrated in the Air Traffic Management through:
- definition of the Operational Concept related to the integration of the tiltrotor in the future Air Traffic Management taking into account of the parallel SESAR Programme development;
- the definition and design of new approach and departure procedures for tiltrotor;
- the validation of the procedures and the integration of the tiltrotor operations in the scenario of a complex Italian airport.
The first objective was to derive from the current rotorcraft operations the operational concept linked to tiltrotor, investigating and evaluating the introduction of it for civil scope in the future European Air Traffic Management System.
The second objective was to develop IFR procedures for tiltrotor not interfering with the conventional traffic. It was taken into account the future expansion of rotary-wing transportation that will ask to fly in low visibility conditions under Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR), similarly to fixed-wing aircraft and using again sophisticated guidance means. The tiltrotor versatility permits to overcome aircraft flight performances (ex: steep glide slope with a specific deceleration profile) and at the same time to solve rotorcraft limitations (ex: integrate rotorcraft in high density aircraft traffic) and this occurs minimising noise impact and using innovative and advanced instrument flight procedures based on satellite navigation. The flight procedures design was aimed on one side to maximize the tiltrotor performances and on the other side to optimize the noise abatement.
The third objective was to gather feedback from the Air Traffic Controller and Pilot point of view that are the main actors in the development of the future tiltrotor operations. The main objective was to guarantee an acceptable level of pilot and ATCo workload and feasibility of the procedures in the ATC operations.
Dissemination activity was performed with the participation to Greener Aviation conference, Brussels 12-14th March 2014). The paper presented (by SICTA) was:
“Tiltrotor: the environment-friendly user of the European sky”, authors:
Gilda Bruno – SICTA
Francesco De Santis – IDS
Giovanni Negro – Agusta Westland
Luca Riviello – Agusta Westland