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: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

PacIOOS wave buoy in Majuro helps keep islanders safe

Jul 16, 2014

If the ocean swell is too high, the safety of fishermen transiting out of the lagoon to open waters is threatened, homes and businesses may be flooded with seawater, roadways may become impassable, and even ...

China's plane demand surges but bumpy ride ahead

Jun 25, 2014

Already Asia's biggest aircraft buyer, China is developing its own passenger planes and building scores of airports but its aviation expansion faces turbulence from slowing growth and inadequate infrastructure.

Sustainable ways to keep us flying

Apr 09, 2014

The global aviation industry continues to expand, with over 3 billion people expected to fly commercially in 2014, along with 38 million metric tons of cargo. This activity will have a huge impact on the ...

Hard cold work and unsung science heroes

Oct 21, 2013

The Sierra went down over the Arctic Ocean, about 60 miles from the northernmost tip of North America. One moment the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with its 20-foot wingspan was up in the sky, gathering ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

15 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Narcissistic CEOs and financial performance

Jul 24, 2014

Narcissism, considered by some as the "dark side of the executive personality," may actually be a good thing when it comes to certain financial measures, with companies led by narcissistic CEOs outperforming those helmed ...

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

User comments : 0