Innovative take-off system could lead to safer, cleaner air travel

Dec 06, 2004

A new approach to aircraft scheduling that uses computer models could allow a safe increase in airport throughput and reduce pollution.
The system under development would, for the first time, provide runway controllers with advice, based on state-of-the-art computer models, on the most efficient, safe sequence in which aircraft can take-off. Currently, runway controllers carry out their demanding job using their own observations and mental calculations, with limited reliance on technical aids.

The system is being designed to take factors such as aircraft size, speed and route into account. Large aircraft create more turbulence, for example, and so the aim is to group aircraft together by weight category. The system would also cover aircraft taxi-ing to the airport holding point, as well as those already waiting there. Responding quickly to changing circumstances, it would provide runway controllers with instant advice.

By minimising the amount of time aircraft spend on the ground with engines running, the system would also reduce noise and fuel pollution affecting people living close to airports, and could save thousands of litres of aviation fuel.

The research could lead to a computer-based system that helps runway controllers make quick but effective scheduling decisions, generating a 10-25% reduction in delays affecting aircraft waiting for clearance to take-off.

The work is being carried out by computer scientists at the University of Nottingham with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and National Air Traffic Services Ltd (NATS).

The research project is being run in conjunction with Heathrow Airport Air Traffic Control and will be designed to deal with 'real world' constraints (e.g. runway controller workloads and holding point structure).

Professor Edmund Burke of the University's School of Computer Science and Information Technology says: "Reducing airport bottlenecks is good for passengers, airlines, the environment and people living close to airports. Our aim is to cut runway controllers' workloads while increasing safety as demand for air travel grows."

Source: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Explore further: Mass extinction event from South Africa's Karoo

Related Stories

An airflow model to reduce time on the tarmac

May 06, 2015

Plans for summer holidays are already taking shape. But before jetting off for some fun in the sun, many travellers will have to cope with long delays on the airport runway.

Lack of oxygen in the groundwater

Apr 29, 2015

Spring has arrived in Europe with mild temperatures and sunshine. Where just a few weeks ago the ground was frozen and partly covered in snow and ice, it is now thawing. This doesn't only have an impact on ...

Recommended for you

Mass extinction event from South Africa's Karoo

3 hours ago

An international team led by researchers from the Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has obtained an age from rocks of the Great Karoo that shed light ...

Price fairness: When do consumers blame the Michelin Man?

5 hours ago

If you feel particularly annoyed when Michelin raises the prices of their tires, blame the Michelin Man. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing, companies whose brands are represented by or associated with h ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.