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Inhalt des Dokuments

ECO-TA - Flight Simulations Supporting Efficient Curved Operations in the Terminal Area

The current project is part of the “SESAR Horizon 2020 Multi Annual Programme”, “PJ02 – Increased Runway and Airport Throughput” and is embedded within the project is “EARTH: EnhAnced Runway Throughput” with a key feature of “High Performing Airport Operations”.

PJ02 addresses situations of over-demand on capacity constrained airports. The evoked delay can be related to separation minima, considering constraints such as weather, environmental effects, noise, runway configuration, mixed mode operations, surveillance and traffic mix. EARTH alleviates delay effects on airports and in the Terminal Maneuvering Area (TMA) by optimizing traffic throughput with existing infrastructure, improving safety and environment as well.

The current project belongs to the Solution 11 in PJ02 (PJ02-11) – “Enhanced Terminal Area for efficient curved operations. Main objective of PJ02-11 is to conduct concept validation enhancing terminal area operation through the application of GNSS usage extended to the entire TMA.

Project Overview

EEC Project Title
ECO-TA - Flight Simulations Supporting Efficient Curved Operations in the Terminal Area
Financing Source
Eurocontrol Experimental Centre (EEC)
TUB Project Lead
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Lehmann
Dr.-Ing. Ferdinand Behrend

Project Description

The project scope tackles independent rotorcraft operations and the accessibility of secondary, regional airports during low visibility conditions. Thus, the knowledge of performance capabilities of augmented GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) systems such as Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) and Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) is necessary for design criteria of future flight procedures. In turn, new and innovative flight procedures have to be implemented to reduce the ecological footprint whilst facilitating increased runway throughput.

The application of GNSS usage in the entire TMA will provide the possibility to shorten the flight path for all aircraft to the airport (using curved operations, Radius-to-Fix (RF) legs) improving continuous descend operations (both leading to environmental sustainability and fuel efficiency benefits) while reducing workload and improving situation awareness (Safety and Human Performance benefit) of flight crews and ATCO equally. The solution addresses enhancements for the terminal area using more efficient curved operations based on GBAS/SBAS technologies from the beginning of the approach phase and working towards a renunciation of the conventional “step-by-step” descent procedure.

The challenge to shift from barometric to geometric vertical navigation will be investigated as a specific research item, to provide improved safety and increased flexibility in airspace design finally.

  • The main challenges of solution 11 are:Identification and description of concept of operations
  • Identification of the expected benefits of the concept of operations
  • Identification of potential issues that could prevent the concept development
  • Analysis of the impact on the avionics
  • Analysis of the transition from barometric to geometric altitude
  • The use of different GNSS references for altitude
  • The transition between different types of GNSS based navigation equipment (SBAS to GBAS)
  • Procedure design

Task's of TUB

The purpose of the current project is to conduct a series of simulations using different aircraft flight simulators (Airbus, Boeing and other regional aircraft), extending the scope of previous simulations conducted in SESAR WP9.9 and WP6.8.8.

The application of the RF function is expanded to all altitudes in the extended TMA so that curved operations can be implemented anywhere in the arrival and approach phase (and not only in the transition to final approach). The feasibility and performance of this function will be evaluated by designing an ARINC 424 procedure containing curved paths at various altitudes in the extended TMA, loading this procedure in the respective FMS of the different aircraft types using customized, manufacturer-specific databases and flying the procedures while recording flight data.

A concept will be investigated in which the vertical navigation will switch from using barometric altitude to GNSS-based altitude. This switch will be made once the aircraft is cleared for the approach and the pilot is allowed to descent to the decision altitude while respecting all published intermediate altitudes in the procedure. Indications of the GNSS altitude, which are currently available in the navigation equipment (e.g. the FMS), will be evaluated. In addition, the operational feasibility to replace the barometric altitude indication within the pilot`s primary flight display (PFD) by a GNSS-based altitude and to take GNSS-based altitude into account for the guidance of the aircraft.

The above research topic will be tested on a range of different aircraft types, so that conclusions are as general as possible and not aircraft type specific. Trajectory data (e.g. Position, Track Errors) from the different aircraft types will be collected during the simulations and recommendations regarding procedure design and the concept of operation (taking into account aircraft performance and flight crew workload) will be formulated.

Test Facilities

  • Airbus A340-300 (Honeywell Pegasus FMS, RF-capable)
  • Boeing 737-classic (GE FMS 10.X, RF-capable)
  • Boeing 777-200LR (Honeywell AIMS System with integrated FMS, RF-capable)
  • Embraer E190 (Honeywell Primus Epic, RF-capable)
  • Bombardier Q400 (Universal UNS-1, RF-capable)
  • Bombardier CSeries (Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion, RF-capable)

Zusatzinformationen / Extras


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Prof. Dr. ir. Maarten Uijt de Haag
Flugführung und Luftverkehr
Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrt
Sekr. F3
Raum F 220
Marchstraße 12-14
10587 Berlin
Tel. +49 (0)30 314 - 22362