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Fuel Planning Strategies Considering Operational Uncertainties of Aerodynamic Formation Flight

Swaid, Majed and Marks, Tobias and Linke, Florian and Gollnick, Volker (2021) Fuel Planning Strategies Considering Operational Uncertainties of Aerodynamic Formation Flight. Aerospace, 8, p. 67. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). doi: 10.3390/aerospace8030067. ISSN 2226-4310.

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Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2226-4310/8/3/67


The operational concept of aerodynamic formation flight, also referred to as aircraft wake-surfing for efficiency (AWSE), has high potential in terms of fuel savings and climate impact mitigation. In order to implement this concept, many technological and operational challenges have to be coped with. As the fuel consumption during a mission strongly depends on a successful execution of AWSE, the existing uncertainties regarding flight planning increase. While a conservative fuel planning ensures a follower to complete the mission even in the case of a formation failure, it might result in high amounts of excess fuel and, therefore, additional fuel consumption. In this study, this issue is addressed by the adaptation of flight planning procedures to the requirements of AWSE focusing on fuel planning in particular, considered from the perspective of a designated follower aircraft of a two-aircraft formation. This trade-off is modeled as an n-action two-event decision-making problem. Each of the possible actions is represented by a combination of mission routing and a corresponding diversion airport, taking atmospheric effects (e.g., wind) into account in order to determine the resulting amount of trip fuel. The two events under consideration are a total formation failure in contrast to a complete success. Based on a scenario with a set of double origin destination pairs characterizing the formations and representative weather patterns for the North Atlantic region, each action is analyzed with regard to the expected fuel consumption and expense. Based on a set of assumed formation success probabilities, we find that the proposed method holds a savings potential to reduce the follower’s fuel consumption by 4.8% and its monetary expenses by 1.2% compared with a conventional flight planning. In order to gain a monetary profit margin applying this method, the required formation success probability is shown to vary between 92% and 96%, depending on the assumed fuel price.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/141269/
Document Type:Article
Title:Fuel Planning Strategies Considering Operational Uncertainties of Aerodynamic Formation Flight
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Swaid, MajedMajed.Swaid (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3017-4680
Marks, Tobiastobias.marks (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Linke, FlorianFlorian.Linke (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1403-3471
Gollnick, VolkerVolker.Gollnick (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7214-0828
Date:7 March 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Aerospace
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.3390/aerospace8030067
Page Range:p. 67
Publisher:Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Keywords:Aerodynamic Formation Flight; Follower Aircraft; Decision-Making; Route Optimization; Flight Planning; Fuel Uncertainty; Aircraft Wake-Surfing for Efficiency
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Air Transport Operations and Impact Assessment
Location: Hamburg
Institutes and Institutions:Air Transport Operations
Deposited By: Swaid, Majed
Deposited On:10 Mar 2021 10:10
Last Modified:29 Mar 2021 09:52

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