UFO research works will address a wide range of innovative technologies through studies of new Ultra Fast Lidar/Radar Wind & EDR (Eddy Dissipation Rate for turbulence) monitoring sensors, usable for Wake-Vortex Hazards Mitigation, but also for severe Cross-Wind, Air Turbulence and Wind-Shear.
The UFO project aims at ensuring aviation safety at current high standards or even better, regardless of air transport growth, through Wake-Vortex Advisory Systems improvement, in connection with SESAR P12.2.2 project.
Constrained by high update rate and accuracy requirements needed for wind measurements, 2D electronic scanning antenna technology based on low cost tile will be explored for X-band radar through a development of a tile mock up as well as a new high power laser source of 1.5 micron Lidar 3D scanner with higher power.
In addition, new design tools will be developed through simulators, able to couple Atmosphere models with Electromagnetic, Radar and LIDAR models. In parallel, advanced Doppler signal processing algorithm will be developed and tested for 3D wind field and EDR monitoring, including the algorithm for the resources management of the different sensors. Comparison with already existing sensors as C band meteorological radar and S band ATC radar, but also ADS-B Downlink will be studied.
Calibration of the ground sensors (Lidar, X band radar, C band radar with ADS-B datalink) and the simulators will be achieved through a set of experimental trials in Munich and Toulouse. In Toulouse, an aircraft equipped with airborne probes will enable in situ comparison.
Innovative sensors to tackle turbulence
Airports need to operate at a high level of efficiency during various adverse meteorological conditions and weather hazards. An EU initiative aimed to improve safety by mitigating the impact of weather on aviation.
Weather dependent separation (WDS) maintains high safety levels, increases airport arrival and departure capacity, and lessens delays by optimising aircraft spacing. It reduces or suspends wake separations by considering all weather conditions and wake vortex behaviour. WDS requires weather measurements and a forecasting algorithm to predict future atmospheric conditions. The minimum separation distance is computed based on this forecast, which allows for a certain amount of uncertainty. For safety reasons, this uncertainty is offset by a safety buffer in the separation.
The EU-funded http://www.ufo-wind-sensors.eu/ (UFO) (Ultrafast wind sensors for wake-vortex hazards mitigation) set out to reduce this safety buffer by improving weather measurements and forecasting through advanced sensors.
The UFO team developed new ground-based, ultra-fast remote sensors. These can be used to deal with wake vortex hazards and severe crosswind, air turbulence and wind shear.
Project partners developed new design tools such as simulators, as well as created an advanced Doppler signal processing algorithm. They also compared existing sensors.
The sensors, simulators and algorithms were tested and validated at the Munich and Toulouse airports. In addition, researchers introduced WDS of aircraft and proposed how it can be used.
UFO foresees two main benefits. It should reduce the safety buffer, leading to less runway queuing delays. Also, by improving the performance of the wake vortex monitoring system, the probability of encountering a wake vortex is reduced.