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MP 070086

MITRE PRODUCT

Continuous Descent Arrival/Continuous Descent Approach Definitions and Variations

May 2007

Edward C. Hahn Jonathan Hoffman

Sponsor:

Federal Aviation Administration

Contract No.:

DTFA01-01-C-00001

Dept. No.:

F063

Project No.:

0207F901-IF

The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of The MITRE Corporation and should not be construed as an official Government position, policy, or decision, unless designated by other documentation.

©2007 The MITRE Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

© 2007 The MITRE Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Center for Advanced Aviation System Development McLean,

Center for Advanced Aviation System Development McLean, Virginia

This document was prepared for authorized distribution only. It has not been approved for public release.

2007 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

Abstract

This product documents the state of the art of the concept known as “Continuous Descent Arrival” (CDA), sometimes also called “Continuous Descent Approach.” At the present time, there is no single agreed-upon detailed description of this concept, but there is a shared high-level idea: an aircraft that is allowed to descend continuously, without interim level segments, will produce less noise and emissions, and burn less fuel, than conventional arrivals in widespread use today. This document provides a basic definition of CDA; describes several variations to the procedure that provide many of the noise and fuel benefits of a CDA, but require less airspace; describes CDA trials; and summarizes the general constraints that will affect widespread implementation of CDA procedures.

Keywords: Arrival, CDA, Continuous Descent Approach, Continuous Descent Arrival, Emissions, Environment, Noise, Profile Descent, RNAV, Vertical Profile

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Dr. John-Paul Clark of the Georgia Institute of Technology for organizing industry workshops on CDA, and publishing the briefings on the Internet. These activities have significantly simplified the task of cataloging the various industry activities related to CDA. The authors would also like to recognize the efforts of Angela Signore in the production of this document.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1

Baseline Definition

1

Variations on the Baseline Definition

2

Summary of Industry Efforts in CDA

2

Constraints on Widespread Implementation of CDAs

16

Conclusions and Summary

20

List of References

22

Glossary

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List of Figures

Figure 1.

UPS Benefits from CDA Trials

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Figure 2.

UPS Arrival Routes into SDF for 2007 CDA Trials

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Figure 3.

The CIVET Five Arrival to LAX

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Figure 4.

RNAV Runway 30 Approach to LGB

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Figure 5.

Vertical Profile for IAH CDA

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Figure 6.

RNAV STAR at Stockholm Arlanda

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Figure 7.

CDAIA for UK Nottingham-East Midlands Airport

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Figure 8.

Crossing Points of PHL Arrivals and Departures

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Figure 9.

Use of Airspace above Altitude Restrictions

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List of Tables

Table 1. Summary of CDA Trials

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Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to document the state-of-the-art concept known as “Continuous Descent Arrival” (CDA), sometimes also called “Continuous Descent Approach.” At the present time, there is no single agreed upon detailed description of this concept, but there is a shared high- level idea: an aircraft that is allowed to descend continuously, without interim level segments, will produce less noise and emissions, and burn less fuel than conventional arrivals in widespread use today.

Baseline Definition

As there is no single concept for CDA, a baseline definition is proposed for the purposes of this document:

Continuous Descent Arrival: an arrival where an aircraft is cleared to descend from cruise altitude to final approach using a best-economy power setting (usually identified as flight idle thrust) at all times. Such an arrival is continuously descending, except for the provision of momentary level segments used to slow aircraft without need to change thrust settings (e.g., to meet the 250 knot restriction at 10,000 feet altitude). At final approach, thrust may be added to permit a safe, stabilized approach speed and flap configuration down a glideslope to the runway.

This definition of CDA provides the most noise, fuel, and emissions benefits from the aircraft. However, it does not specify how the descent trajectory is calculated or coordinated, or how streams of aircraft that perform CDAs are managed. These details are where many of the differences among concepts are manifest.

In particular, it does not assume the presence of an airline or Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) metering, sequencing, or spacing capability to manage multiple arrivals. (An example of such an airline capability includes United Parcel Service of America’s (UPS) Airline-Based En Route Sequencing and Spacing [ABESS] tool; an example of an ANSP capability is the Federal Aviation Administration’s [FAA] Traffic Management Advisor [TMA].)

Another concept that is not included in the baseline definition of CDA is the presence of any flight deck capability used to ensure efficient spacing at the runway threshold, such as a Flight Management System (FMS) Required Time of Arrival (RTA) mode, or Airborne Separation Assurance System capability as proposed by UPS.

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Variations on the Baseline Definition

Several industry activities being performed under the umbrella of CDA do not technically meet the above definition of CDA if applied strictly; rather, they are slight variations on this definition. As these concepts are intended to provide the same benefit as CDA, these variations are discussed here.

Descent Point Variation

These are CDAs that do not start at cruise altitude, but rather start at some intermediate altitude (typically around 10,000 feet). These applications do not provide the maximum fuel benefit, but do provide partial fuel benefit and most of the noise benefit of CDA, especially during low altitude flight.

Note that some of these applications are called Continuous Descent Approaches, using the same acronym “CDA.” To avoid confusion, the term Continuous Descent Arrival from an Intermediate Altitude (CDAIA) will be used throughout this document in place of Continuous Descent Approach.

Non-Idle Descent Variation

This variation of CDA does not use the specific optimum descent profile for each aircraft, but rather defines a flight profile based on a generic model of the aircraft (or a generic model of multiple aircraft). Thus, while some or most aircraft may fly an actual idle descent at the optimum FMS-calculated economy speed, other aircraft will fly at a non-optimum speed. In some cases, non-idle thrust or speedbrakes may need to be used to adhere to the designed procedure.

The intent of non-idle descent variants of CDA is to trade off achieving maximum fuel or noise benefit against the need to reserve large blocks of airspace for aircraft on descent. In many cases, the majority of the noise and fuel benefit is obtained across the fleet, while reducing the impact of CDA traffic on crossing traffic streams or departures, and preserving capacity.

Interrupted CDA Variation

This CDA variation is a baseline CDA that has been split into more than one descent segment, perhaps including a level segment as well. The purpose of this split is to compensate for imperfect trajectory prediction during the early descent segments, and to provide more flexibility in the latter descent segments.

Summary of Industry Efforts in CDA

This section of the document will describe the industry activities on CDA known to the authors at the time of writing, and to compare and contrast the different approaches taken by different industry groups. These efforts are summarized in Table 1 at the end of the document.

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Louisville Standiford International Airport (SDF) CDAs

This activity is being led by UPS Airlines. It is a Non-Idle Descent Variant of CDA, which uses an airline-based tool to perform initial sequencing and spacing of aircraft to the Top of Descent (TOD) point, and then relies on flight-deck spacing tools to maintain spacing during descent.

The concept thus far has been applied to UPS’s B767 aircraft arriving from west coast airports, at the end of the arrival bank during the nightly sort at SDF Airport. At this time of night, the traffic environment is predominantly UPS, and at the time of arrival most of the arriving UPS aircraft from other parts of the country have already landed.

During the cruise phase of flight, the ABESS tool, located in the UPS Airline Operations Center, uses Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast Mode (ADS-B) surveillance data to estimate when aircraft will reach the merge fix for SDF, and the arriving sequence of aircraft.

Based on arrival priority, UPS may issue a speed advisory to the flight crew (via Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System [ACARS]) to adjust the cruise speed, such that the spacing between aircraft at the merge fix for SDF is adequate for compression and winds (e.g., 15 nautical miles [NM]) and in the sequence desired by UPS. Also at this time, the flight crew is told of the traffic sequence (i.e., which aircraft they will be following on descent). This spacing activity is accomplished between 750 and 60 miles prior to the merge fix, which is approximately the location of the TOD Point. Due to the relatively small changes in speed, and the geographic dispersion of aircraft, these speed advisories are relatively transparent to air traffic control (ATC).

Once the aircraft reach the merge point, the flight crew is cleared to descend via a pre-defined Standard Terminal Arrival Route (STAR) with crossing restrictions, and to use a flight deck tool based on ADS-B to manage their spacing from the aircraft in front of them. This tool uses a generic model for the B767’s descent profile rather than the optimum calculated by the FMS for each flight, in order to place the aircraft at an efficient spacing at the runway threshold. Thus, while the aircraft fly a descent profile that is close to optimum, some adjustment in speed (and thus engine power setting) may occur.

Benefits to date are estimated to provide up to a 30% reduction in noise (6 dB at 7.5 and 15 miles from the runway), a 34% reduction in NOx emissions, and 250-465 lbs of fuel per flight. Note that some of the noise, NOx and fuel savings are a result of shorter routes when flying the CDA procedure compared against baseline routing. (The CDA path was more direct to the runway, see Figure 1.)

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Figure 1. UPS Benefits from CDA Trials [1] Activities in 2007 will include redesigned arri

Figure 1. UPS Benefits from CDA Trials [1]

Activities in 2007 will include redesigned arrival procedures to multiple runways (shown in Figure 2), and to begin the necessary activities to allow for multiple aircraft types to fly the arrivals. Note that UPS foresees that the computations performed by the ABESS tool may be transferred to the FAA (e.g., in TMA) as the procedure matures, especially if additional carriers participate at a single airport.

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Figure 2. UPS Arrival Routes into SDF for 2007 CDA Trials [2] Louisville/UPS Airlines Type

Figure 2. UPS Arrival Routes into SDF for 2007 CDA Trials [2]

Louisville/UPS Airlines

Type: Non-Idle Descent Variation CDA Route: Predefined Area Navigation (RNAV) STAR Spacing Point: TOD (cruise), Runway Threshold (descent) Spacing Manager: Airline Operation Center (AOC) tool (cruise), Flight Deck tool (descent) Notes: Requires Airborne Separation Assurance System Avionics, closed-loop flight-deck control of spacing (descent)

San Francisco (SFO) Tailored Arrivals

Tailored Arrivals is a concept proposed by Boeing, and is described as a CDA-modified for local conditions such as traffic or Traffic Flow Management (TFM). As such, any particular Tailored Arrival may not strictly conform to the baseline definition (i.e., may be a non-idle descent variant or an interrupted CDA.) There are two main timeframes for which Tailored Arrivals are being developed, Near-Term and Long-Term.

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The Near-Term concept is intended to use existing aircraft capabilities such as Future Air Navigation System 1/A (FANS 1/A). It uses pre-defined arrival routes similar to STARs, including crossing restrictions. This concept is intended to be used in low-density environments where other traffic is unlikely to interfere with the ability to perform the Tailored Arrival. Trials to date in the U.S. have used a single arrival (UAL 76) to SFO, scheduled early in the morning local time.

The Long-Term concept is intended to use routes that are generated “on-the-fly” by the ground system, using random latitudes and longitudes as waypoints. These waypoints are transmitted via data link to aircraft. Since the application is targeted for medium-to-high density environments, each route is tailored to the specific aircraft traffic situation. However, as the current ground system and avionics are unable to handle generation and communication of random routes, this capability will be a longer-term application requiring significant avionics and ground system development [3].

As currently performed in trials at SFO, the spacing point to which the traffic stream is managed is the TRACON entry point (BRINY). The ground system predicts when the aircraft will arrive at the TRACON entry point, given the predefined procedure being used, prior to the aircraft reaching the TOD. Once a time of arrival is estimated, the ground system uplinks the pre-defined route of flight to the runway, and a cruise and descent speed. Finally, the latest winds are uplinked to the aircraft just prior to the TOD. The aircraft will then fly the route using the estimated speeds.

Trials to date have shown that the ground system is able to predict the time of arrival at the TRACON entry point within a mean of less than ten seconds, with a standard deviation of approximately 20 seconds [4]. It should be noted that this produces a 95% window of approximately 80 seconds around which the aircraft may arrive at the TRACON entry point, assuming a normal distribution in error. Air Traffic Controllers in today’s system are typically able to deliver aircraft with much better precision (e.g., a window of ±5 seconds).

Benefits from the trials at SFO indicate potential fuel benefits of 120 kg – 210 kg of fuel per flight [5], as well as comparable CO2 and NOx benefits, depending on the size of the aircraft. These yield annualized benefits that are quite large if the majority of arrivals can be performed using Tailored Arrivals.

Future plans at SFO include the inclusion of additional carriers and fleet types, and the development of a ground automation capability that can perform random route generation and conflict detection/resolution, in addition to trajectory prediction. (Note that Boeing is also performing trials outside the U.S. with other carriers and Air Navigation Service Providers; results and future plans are similar to those for the U.S.)

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SFO Tailored Arrivals/Near-Term:

Type: Baseline CDA (may be non-idle or interrupted if there are traffic issues) Route: Predefined STAR Spacing Point: TRACON entry point Spacing Manager: NASA En Route Descent Advisor (used by FAA) Notes: Requires Data Link

SFO Tailored Arrivals/Far-Term:

Type: Baseline CDA (may be non-idle or interrupted if there are traffic issues) Route: Tailored for each aircraft (random waypoints) Spacing Point: TRACON entry point Spacing Manager: NASA Enhanced En Route Descent Advisor (to be used by FAA) Notes: Requires Data Link

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)/RNAV Profile Descents Phoenix Sky-Harbor International Airport (PHX)/RNAV Profile Descents

These two airports have developed several procedures that have been published as RNAV STARs. These are Non-Idle Descent Variations of CDA, in that they have been designed such that most (~75%) of the aircraft capable of performing CDAs are able to meet the crossing restrictions using idle thrust. The remaining aircraft must fly off-idle or with speedbrakes deployed to meet the crossing restrictions.

The LAX procedure has an “anchor point” designed into the procedure, which provides a constrained altitude window about 2000 feet high, at 280 knots. This serves to force different aircraft types into a smaller overall altitude window for the entire procedure, preserving space for streams of crossing traffic. Constraining the overall altitude window along the approach makes the procedure viable in the high-volume LA Basin environment (see Figure 3). Note that since this procedure is defined as a regular STAR rather than as a special procedure, controllers will still intervene as necessary to ensure separation and spacing.

Controllers in the LA Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) have been given a look-up table with recommended spacing at the handoff point between ZLA and Southern California TRACON (SCT), based on the worse-case spacing required between aircraft of different wake vortex categories, and for various wind conditions at altitude. These tables have been computed to assure that required separation will be maintained between successive aircraft throughout the arrival. In the future, these tables may serve as a basis for making modifications to the TMA.

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The CIVET Five Arrival to LAX contains vertical constraints th at allow for a variety

The CIVET Five Arrival to LAX contains vertical constraints that allow for a variety of aircraft to descend via a CDA [6].

Figure 3. The CIVET Five Arrival to LAX

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Findings by airspace specialists at SCT suggest that CDAs can have a positive impact on overall procedure design by making aircraft profiles more consistent, with the understanding that certain design pitfalls need to be avoided. These include consideration of the following:

Aircraft at flight idle have limited ability to show further

Aircraft at the upper end of the CDA altitude window have limited ability to increase speed

Handling multiple CDA paths requires additional flow planning

All aircraft do not have the same performance

Some aircraft have more predictable performance than others

If care is taken with defining anchor points, then a procedure can be designed that provides an overall net neutral or positive effect on airport capacity, with environmental benefits only slightly less than a baseline CDA [6].

LAX’s procedure was initially published in February 2006 (CIVET Five), and based on field feedback is to be republished as the RIIVR arrival with minor revisions. PHX has two procedures designed (EAGUL and MAIER) that accomplish similar profile descents, and were published early 2007, and other locations are expected to use similar design principles in the future.

LAX/PHX RNAV Profile Descents

Type: Non-Idle Descent CDA Route: Published STAR Spacing Point: TRACON entry point Spacing Manager: Pre-Computed Look-up Table (LAX), Procedural

Southern California TRACON/RNAV Approaches

In addition to the arrival procedure at LAX, SCT is also investigating the use of CDAIA for several airports in the LA Basin. Noise issues are a significant driver for the local community, and influence operations at many airports in the basin.

Thus far, the RNAV Required Navigation Performance (RNP) Y approach to Runway 30 at Long Beach Daugherty Field (LGB) has been evaluated for suitability for a CDAIA, starting at the KAYOH fix at or below 9000 feet altitude (see Figure 4). This approach is being tested with Jet Blue A320 and UPS B767 aircraft; preliminary results show that the route is successful in segregating the LGB traffic from other traffic flows. One issue that may prevent extension of the CDAIA to higher altitudes for LGB is interference with departure traffic at BANDS intersection

[7].

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RNAV Runway 30 Approach to LGB is being tested for suitability as a CDAIA [6].

RNAV Runway 30 Approach to LGB is being tested for suitability as a CDAIA [6].

Figure 4. RNAV Runway 30 Approach to LGB

Another procedure at John Wayne Airport (SNA) has been defined, but test results using UPS B757 aircraft were not available at this writing. As these procedures have been designed as demonstration projects, there has been limited discussion of spacing management for multiple aircraft.

At both locations, it was noted that, “a complete picture of all traffic patterns must be considered for a successful CDA procedure design (including departure and arrival streams from nearby airports, Class B airspace restriction, etc.)” [8].

LGB/SNA RNAV Approaches

Type: CDAIA Route: Published RNAV (RNP) Approach Spacing Point: Not specified Spacing Manager: Not specified/procedural

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) Continuous Descent Arrivals

The goal of this concept is to design CDAs that can feed dual independent parallel runways at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Note that as designed, this Boeing concept is not a Tailored Arrival.

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The design approach is to split the descent into two segments: one from cruise to TRACON entry (approximately 10,000 feet), and one from TRACON entry to final approach (see Figure 5). Thus, this arrival can be called an Interrupted CDA. Both segments are provided with multiple pre-defined paths, to allow for absorption of different amounts of delay while on descent, for compatibility of the procedure with a medium to heavy traffic environment.

the procedure with a medium to heavy traffic environment. Note level segment at 10,000 feet. Figure

Note level segment at 10,000 feet.

Figure 5. Vertical Profile for IAH CDA

The first CDA segment, from cruise to TRACON entry, is designed to be performed at idle thrust. This segment is followed by a short level segment, to compensate for differences in the idle descent trajectory caused by inaccurate wind data in the FMS and Flight Technical Error, and to allow for the option of a closer-in reselection of TRACON flight paths for flexibility [9].

The second descent segment is along a 2 degree flight path angle, and thus is a Non-Idle Descent Variant of CDA. This provides for glideslope intercept at final approach that is consistent with standard operational practices (e.g., altitude separation at turn to final, flap schedule, landing gear configuration, etc.).

Ground automation is proposed as a means to choose paths (especially through the TRACON) to provide sequencing and separation under medium to heavy traffic demand.

Preliminary simulation results provide estimates of benefits for a B737-700W aircraft of 17 lbs of fuel (2.1%), and 24 seconds shorter flight time over standard operations.

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At this point in time, activities at IAH are still in the conceptual planning stages.

IAH CDA

Type: Interrupted CDA, using baseline CDA and Non-Idle Descent CDA segments Route: Multiple pre-defined RNAV procedures (path options) Spacing Point: TRACON entry point, Runway Threshold Spacing Manager: Ground automation Notes: Data Link not required

Stockholm Arlanda International Airport Green Approaches

Activities since October 2005 at Arlanda International Airport in Stockholm are part of an effort to develop “Green Approaches” that use CDA concepts from TOD. Unlike other concepts discussed to this point, this concept uses capabilities of the aircraft’s FMS much more extensively

[10].

The FMS’s calculated trajectory along a pre-defined arrival route (see Figure 6) including estimated time at the runway is sent via data link to a ground automation system. This ground system uses the trajectory prediction as a baseline; the system will propose a RTA via datalink back to the aircraft FMS, including small changes to the arrival time if necessary for spacing.

The flight crew will then assess whether the proposed RTA is achievable using the FMS, and if so, will downlink the revised trajectory prediction for meeting the RTA. At this point, the aircraft will actively manage its trajectory to meet the RTA time. As such, the CDA may require use of non-idle thrust at points during the descent.

As of September 2006, 250 approaches have been flown. Without using the FMS RTA capability, the aircraft’s prediction of arrival at the runway threshold was ±3 minutes. With RTA capability, the aircraft were able to meet a window of ±5 seconds [11].

Other operational issues related to the design of the arrival procedure have been identified (e.g., excessively slow speeds at high altitudes, long path lengths), but these are expected to be addressed through revised procedures.

Stockholm Green Approaches

Type: Non-Idle Descent CDA Route: Predefined arrival procedure Spacing Point: Runway Threshold Spacing Manager: Combination of Ground Automation and Aircraft FMS Notes: Data Link needed for trajectory negotiation, RTA capability required on FMS, closed- loop flight-deck control of arrival time

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RNAV STAR at Stockholm Arlanda is being evaluated for Green Approaches [11]. Figure 6. RNAV

RNAV STAR at Stockholm Arlanda is being evaluated for Green Approaches [11].

Figure 6. RNAV STAR at Stockholm Arlanda

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UK Nottingham – East Midlands CDA This trial is an idle thrust CDA from an Intermediate Altitude, involving several aircraft types (B757-200F, MD11F, B767-300F, and A319) at Nottingham-East Midlands Airport (NEMA). Trials have been conducted between May and November 2006 to show proof-of-concept and to estimate noise and fuel consumption benefits.

Two RNAV approaches have been defined, starting at approximately 9000 feet (entry to NEMA terminal airspace; Figure 7 shows one of the approaches). A preliminary comparison of fuel burn for the procedure shows a reduction of 35 kg (9%) for B757 aircraft, and 150 kg (20%) for MD11 aircraft, vs. baseline runs of the same aircraft on conventional approaches. In addition, an estimated 6dB reduction in peak noise (i.e., from ~67dB to 61dB) has been measured 11 NM from the runway threshold for A319 aircraft [12].

Spacing results have not been reported as part of this trial.

UK Nottingham-East Midlands Airport CDA

Type: CDAIA Route: Predefined RNAV approaches Spacing Point: None indicated Spacing Manager: None indicated

Other Proof-Of-Concept Trials

There are several proof-of-concept flight trials involving CDAs that will be performed in 2007.

Delta Airlines will be conducting CDAs for small number of flights into Atlanta Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport (ATL), using a procedure based on the ERLIN arrival, on a trial basis. These trials will occur during night operations starting in April 2007. The intent of this trial is to gather information on fuel burn and aircraft descent profiles to assist with the refinement of a CDA arrival procedure. This effort is a prelude to a larger trial anticipated for the 2008/2009 timeframe, which will use an airline-based spacing tool to manage spacing at the TRACON entry point [13].

The Atlanta effort is also expected to contribute to a Joint Program Development Office (JPDO) project to define 2015 and 2025 operations concepts for the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. These are intended to be holistic concepts, and thus will include concepts such as Equivalent Visual Operations or Super Density Operations in addition to CDA.

Northwest Airlines will be performing single-aircraft CDAs into Fargo/Hector International Airport during night hours. The intent of these flight trials will be to estimate potential fuel savings.

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Figure 7. CDAIA for UK Nottingham-East Midlands Airport Other Proof-Of-Concept Trials Type : Baseline CDA

Figure 7. CDAIA for UK Nottingham-East Midlands Airport

Other Proof-Of-Concept Trials

Type: Baseline CDA (Proof-Of-Concept only) Route: Predefined arrival procedures Spacing Point: none (future ATL – TRACON entry point) Spacing Manager: none (future ATL – airline based ground automation)

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Constraints on Widespread Implementation of CDAs (adapted from [14])

The practical application of CDA during medium to heavy traffic conditions will be limited by several factors.

First, depending on the exact variation of CDA employed, there may be a larger or smaller population of aircraft that are equipped to execute the proposed application – that is, are equipped with Data Link, Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI), RTA, or other capabilities. However, even in the most basic form, many existing aircraft that are flying today do not have FMSs that are capable of calculating continuous descent profiles. Instead, these aircraft compute early descents with level segments to ensure adherence to crossing restrictions (these aircraft are sometimes referred to as “dive and drive” aircraft.) With careful procedure design, such as those implemented at LAX, this factor can be mitigated to some extent.

Second, for aircraft that are arriving to a single airport, there is an uncertainty associated with the arrival of aircraft performing CDAs that must be incorporated into the overall airport operation. For example, in the SFO Tailored Arrival trials, a standard deviation of 20 seconds has been demonstrated in the prediction of arrival time at the TRACON boundary from the top of descent. This translates to an 80 second window of uncertainty (at 95% confidence) that must be protected for the traffic, assuming a normal arrival error distribution. This in turn implies that the TRACON must have the flexibility to move other arriving aircraft around the CDA arrival if landing throughput at the runway is not to be lost.

In addition to these factors, there are two others: the presence of crossing traffic, and the presence of co-linear traffic that is subject to different speed requirements.

Crossing Traffic

In the current system, it is most expeditious to separate crossing flows of traffic by altitude. Where flows must be crossed, the altitude flexibility that makes CDA effective may need to be restricted, so CDA applications may be limited. Crossing flows of concern are different in the different altitude strata. Below 14,000 feet, departure flows from the destination airport and arrival and departure flows from satellite airports are most likely to cross the approach. Above 14,000 feet, the primary concern is overflight traffic to other, unrelated airports.

Low Altitude Example: Crossing Traffic at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Many conventional approaches to Philadelphia involve two or more extra turns before the downwind and base legs. Philadelphia approach control airspace is wedged between New York TRACON to the northeast and Potomac TRACON to the southwest, so arrival and departure operations must share a limited space. Overflight traffic on Victor airways creates additional complexity. Aircraft descend rapidly, with level segments at 4,000, 6,000, or 7,000 feet.

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The reasons for the level segments are visible in Figure 8, which shows radar tracks 1 for PHL arrival and departure traffic. Arrival tracks are shown with grey lines, departure radar returns are shown with red crosses. The airport is in west configuration, with arrivals to Runways 27R, 26, and 35. Departures are using Runways 27L and 35. The three most important crossing situations for Runway 27 arrivals are marked with black circles.

for Runway 27 arrivals are mark ed with black circles. Figure 8. Crossing Points of PHL

Figure 8. Crossing Points of PHL Arrivals and Departures

High Altitude Example: Arrivals to the New York/Philadelphia Airports

Arrivals to New York and Philadelphia begin to step down from their cruise altitude as far as 200 NM from their destinations. In situations where the low altitude airspace permits CDAIAs, the en route traffic flows determine whether the approach can be extended upward and outward to create a continuous-descent arrival.

Figure 9 shows that the airspace in the New York/Philadelphia area is tightly constrained. Each point where an arrival altitude restriction exists in the proposed future New York airspace design

1 PHL TRACON Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS) data for August 18, 2006.

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is marked with a black triangle. Traffic in the vicinity (except arrivals to modeled airports and low-altitude flights beneath them) is compared to the altitude restriction.

Crossing Traffic above NY/PHL Crossing Traffic above NY/PHL altitude restrictions by altitude restrictions by 0-2,000
Crossing Traffic above NY/PHL
Crossing Traffic above NY/PHL
altitude restrictions by
altitude restrictions by
0-2,000 ft
0-2,000 ft
2-4,000 ft
2-4,000 ft

Figure 9. Use of Airspace above Altitude Restrictions

Where the 25 th percentile of the crossing traffic altitudes is less than 2000 feet above the altitude restriction, the point is marked red. If there is a gap of 2000 to 4000 feet between the restriction and the 25 th percentile of crossing altitudes, the point is colored orange. If the crossing traffic is more than 4000 feet above the arrivals, the point is not marked.

Opportunities for raising restriction altitudes would be seen as black triangles without nearby red points. These locations are few. Where altitudes are not tightly constrained from above – such as southwest of DuPont VOR (DQO) or west of Wilkes-Barre VOR (LVZ) – there are other places closer to the destination airport where crossing traffic requires the altitude restriction in the preferred alternative. To lift one altitude restriction while leaving restrictions before and after that point on the flight’s path would not facilitate creation of a CDA.

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Collinear Traffic

Most airways are used by flights to many different destinations. An en route controller separates aircraft “in trail” along the airways, matching speeds between flights at the same altitude to create orderly flows of traffic. Once a flow has been set up, the aircraft will maintain proper separation because their speeds are the same. En route controllers are frequently called upon to put extra spacing between two arrivals to the same airport for flow management purposes; they accomplish this by putting the appropriate number of aircraft bound for other airports (if such flights are in the sector) between two flow-managed aircraft. Since the operating conditions at the different destinations are unrelated to each other, it is common for several different spacing requirements to be in force at any given moment. For example, the controller may need to space PHL arrivals 20 miles apart while EWR arrivals must be 10 miles apart and Teterboro Airport (TEB) arrivals can flow freely. This is a highly complex situation. More than one controller shares the responsibility for spacing in situations like this.

In the current system, where arrivals step down early, the different destinations can be stratified by

altitude. That is, flights bound for the closest airport are put at the lowest altitude stratum; flights bound for the furthest airport are kept highest, and so forth. When the traffic is arranged this way, the airspace can be split into air traffic control sectors by altitude. The controller of the low- altitude sector has responsibility for spacing aircraft to the closest destination; the traffic to other airports is handled by other controllers in higher sectors.

When aircraft are cleared on CDA at cruise altitudes, the controller’s job becomes more complex

in three ways. First, the necessary spacings between aircraft are more complicated. Wake

turbulence separation on final approach is not typically a problem for en route controllers in today’s system because the spacing can be increased in approach control airspace if necessary. Aircraft on CDA are not to be maneuvered by approach controllers, so spacings that protect wake turbulence separation must be applied in the en route airspace. Second, altitude stratification is no longer possible after the CDA begins. Third, aircraft speeds are no longer at the controller’s discretion. Instead of matching the speeds of the aircraft in front and behind, the aircraft speed is set for efficient descent (with the notable exception of the UPS CDA application at Louisville which uses CDTI for spacing along the descent path).

A single controller is now responsible for making a single, well-separated flow out of aircraft

which may have high speeds to compress spacing to one airport, mixed with others that need low speeds for delay absorption at another airport. Before CDA can be used to more than one airport, it must be proven that this situation is never severe enough to present the en route controller with an insolvable problem.

19

2007 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

Conclusions and Summary

While the industry has not yet coalesced around a common definition or procedure for Continuous Descent Arrivals, the basic concept of using an idle or near-idle descent shows promise for reducing fuel burn, noise, and emissions. Trials to date have shown benefit during non-peak hours, and work is underway to demonstrate the concept during more heavy traffic conditions, with a wider variety of aircraft types and with a larger percentage of aircraft that are performing CDAs.

As described above there are many issues surrounding the widespread implementation of CDAs and its affect on airspace and airport throughput. The FAA has requested that The MITRE Corporation’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD) use its modeling and simulation capabilities to investigate the impact of broader use of CDAs. CAASD is modeling the effect of CDAs during times with higher traffic levels, with a mix of aircraft types and capabilities, with multiple arrival fixes and routes with CDA traffic, and when there are dependencies between arrival flows or between arrivals and departures. The results of this modeling will provide additional insights on when CDAs or CDAs with variations should be used.

20

2007 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

Table 1. Summary of CDA Trials

   

SFO

SFO

       

UK

 

Louisville/

UPS Airlines

Tailored

Arrivals

(Near)

Tailored

Arrivals

(Far)

LAX/PHX

RNAV Profile

Descents

LGB/SNA

RNAV

Approaches

IAH CDAs

Stockholm

Green

Approaches

Nottingham-

E. Midlands

CDA

Other Proof of Concept (ATL/FAR)

 

Non-Idle Descent

Baseline

Baseline

Non-Idle

CDAIA

Interrupted CDA, with Baseline CDA and Non-Idle Descent Segments

Non-Idle

CDAIA

Baseline CDA

CDA

CDA (subject

CDA (subject

Descent CDA

Descent CDA

(proof-of-concept

Type

to traffic)

to traffic)

only)

 

Predefined RNAV

Predefined

Tailored for

Published

Published

Multiple pre-defined

Pre-defined

Predefined

Predefined arrival

Route

STAR

STAR

each aircraft

STAR

RNAV (RNP)

RNAV procedures

Arrival

RNAV

procedure

Approach

(path options)

Procedure

approaches

 

Top of Descent (Cruise), Runway Threshold (Descent)

TRACON

TRACON

TRACON entry

Not specified

TRACON entry point, Runway Threshold

Runway

None indicated

None (future ATL – TRACON entry point)

Spacing

entry point

entry point

point

Threshold

Point

 
 

AOC Tool

NASA En

NASA

Pre-Computed

Not specified / procedural

Ground automation

Ground

None indicated

None (future ATL – airline-based ground automation)

Spacing

Manager

(Cruise), Flight

Route

Enhanced En

Look-up Table

Automation +

Deck Tool

Descent

Route

(LAX),

 

Aircraft FMS

(Descent)

Advisor

Descent

Procedural

(negotiated)

 
 

Advisor

 

Requires Airborne Separation Assurance System Avionics, closed- loop flight deck control of spacing (descent)

Requires Data

Requires Data

   

Not a Tailored Arrival

Needs Data link for trajectory negotiation, RTA capability, closed-loop flight deck control of arrival time

   

Notes

Link

Link

21

List of References

1. Walton, J., Dramatically Improving Gate-to-Gate Operations, October 2006,

http://www.arinc.com/aeec/general_session/gs_reports/2006/presentations/11_Gate_to_Gate

Montreal.pdf.

2. Walton, J., RNAV/CDA Arrival Design: 2004 Flight Test Trials, Louisville International

Airport, January 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop1/Presentations/Day1-

Thu19Jan2006/3a.Walton.pdf.

3. Mead, R., “Tailored Arrivals Overview,” Boeing 2007 Tailored Arrivals Symposium,

March 2007, Seattle, Washington.

4. Coppenbarger, R., “Oceanic Tailored Arrivals: Project Overview,” Boeing 2007 Tailored

Arrivals Symposium, March 2007, Seattle, Washington.

5. Peake, R. and G. McDonald., “Airservices Australia: Boeing Tailored Arrival

Symposium,” Boeing 2007 Tailored Arrivals Symposium, March 2007, Seattle, Washington.

6. White, W., Optimized Profile Descent Design, November 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop4/white.pdf.

7. Wat, J., SNA & LGB Continuous Descent Arrival Demonstration Project, November

2006, http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop4/wat.pdf.

8. Ibid.

9. Tong, K., Continuous Descent Approach Design for Independent Dual Runway

Operation at IAH, April 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop2/presentations/Tong.pdf.

10. Klooster, J., FMS Considerations in CDA Design, November 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop4/klooster.pdf.

11. Manzi, P., Green Approaches in NUP 2+, September 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop3/presentations/Manzi.pdf.

12. Reynolds, T, Advanced Continuous Descent Approach Activities at Nottingham East

Midlands Airport, UK, September 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop3/presentations/Reynolds.pdf.

13. Nagle, G., and T. Staigle, Project ATL, September 2006,

http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/jpclarke/cda/workshop3/presentations/NagleStaigle.pdf.

14. Boan, L., A. Cooper, et al., Operational Analysis of Mitigation of the NY/NJ/PHL

Airspace Redesign, April 2007, MP 070049, McLean, VA.

22

2007 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

Glossary

ABESS

Airline-Based En Route Sequencing and Spacing

ACARS

Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System

ADS-B

Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast Mode

ANSP

Air Navigation Service Provider

AOC

Airline Operations Center

ARTCC

Air Route Traffic Control Center

ARTS

Automated Radar Terminal System

ATC

Air Traffic Control

ATL

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

CAASD

Center for Advanced Aviation System Development

CDA

Continuous Descent Approach

CDAIA

Continuous Descent Arrival from an Intermediate Altitude

CDTI

Cockpit Display of Traffic Information

ETMS

Enhanced Traffic Management System

FAA

Federal Aviation Administration

FANS

Future Air Navigation System

FMS

Flight Management System

IAH

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport

JPDO

Joint Program Development Office

LAX

Los Angeles International Airport

LGB

Long Beach Daugherty Field

NEMA

Nottingham-East Midlands Airport

NM

Nautical Miles

PHL

Philadelphia International Airport

PHX

Phoenix Sky-Harbor International Airport

RNAV

Area Navigation

RNP

Required Navigation Performance

RTA

Required Time of Arrival

SCT

Southern California TRACON

SDF

Louisville Standiford International Airport

23

2007 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

SNA

John Wayne Airport

STAR

Standard Terminal Arrival Route

TEB

Teterboro Airport

TFM

Traffic Flow Management

TMA

Traffic Management Advisor

TOD

Top of Descent

TRACON

Terminal Radar Approach Control

UPS

United Parcel Service of America

24

2007 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.