Journal of Air Transportation

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EISSN : 2380-9450
Total articles ≅ 115
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Shijin Wang, Jiewen Chu, Jiahao Li, Jingjing Lin, Rongrong Duan
Journal of Air Transportation pp 1-11;

With the rapid growth of global traffic flow, the flight anomalies caused by convective weather are becoming worse. More efficient traffic control measures can be implemented to improve airspace’s effective utilization and reduce the resulting ground and air waiting times if reroute optimization during cruise under convective weather can be realized before taking off. Based on vertical integrated liquid water, echo top, and flight altitude, this paper establishes a three-dimensional deviation probability distribution and defines a method of segment availability and capacity in convective weather. The optimization algorithms named Floyd, Rapidly-exploring Random Tree Star (RRT*), and informed-Rapidly-exploring Random Tree Star (Informed-RRT*) are used to minimize reroute distances. The deviation probability distribution is established based on 6146 historical flights under convective weather from 11 to 20 August 2018 in some upper area control centers under the administration of central and southern air traffic management bureaus. The Floyd and informed-RRT* algorithms are compared for reroute optimization for several flights in a given scenario. Based on the time to compute optimized reroutes and the quality of the reroute results, the Floyd algorithm is shown to provide the best rerouting optimization.
Andrew S. Mendolia, Brock Lascara, Tracy Sanders
Journal of Air Transportation pp 1-11;

Urban air mobility is a vision for new aviation operations that leverage advances in flight automation, electrical propulsion, and vertical flight technologies to address passenger and cargo needs for faster on-demand, short-range air transport. Enabling urban air mobility operations in the National Airspace System will require significant coordination across the aviation and transportation communities, including the general aviation community. The urban air mobility operating vision will introduce new and complex interactions to these pilots, driving a need for coordinated operating procedures that align with the needs of each community. This paper summarizes an exploratory human-in-the-loop experiment performed at The MITRE Corporation to explore general aviation pilot perspectives on proximate urban air mobility operations. Pilot participants used a certified flight deck simulator to fly a route in an environment with various urban air mobility traffic configurations. Objective and subjective measures were collected to understand general aviation pilot perspectives. Results indicate pilot preference for a limited number of corridors within a segment of airspace even at higher urban air mobility traffic rates. Acceptability of other urban air mobility operating concepts explored in this research study decreased with an increase in urban air mobility traffic rates.
, David Aranega Sebastia, Miquel Angel Piera
Journal of Air Transportation pp 1-10;

Safety in air traffic management at the tactical level is ensured by human controllers. Automatic detection and resolution tools are one way to assist controllers in their tasks. However, the majority of existing methods do not account for factors that can affect the quality and efficiency of resolutions. Furthermore, future challenges such as sustainability and the environmental impact of aviation must be tackled. In this work, we propose an innovative approach to pairwise conflict resolution, by modeling it as a multi-agent reinforcement learning to improve the quality of resolutions based on a combination of several factors. We use multi-agent deep deterministic policy gradient to generate resolution maneuvers. We propose a reward function that besides solving the conflicts attempts to optimize the resolutions in terms of time, fuel consumption, and airspace complexity. The models are evaluated on real traffic, with a data augmentation technique utilized to increase the variance of conflict geometries. We achieve promising results with a resolution rate of 93%, without the agents having any previous knowledge of the dynamics of the environment. Furthermore, the agents seem to be able to learn some desirable behaviors such as preferring small heading changes to solve conflicts in one time step. Nevertheless, the nonstationarity of the environment makes the learning procedure nontrivial. We argue ways that tangible qualities such as resolution rate and intangible qualities such as resolution acceptability and explainability can be improved.
Philipp Zeunert, Markus Herrich
Journal of Air Transportation pp 1-10;

The airport gate assignment problem addresses the optimal assignment of a set of aircraft to a set of stands. The underlying combinatorial optimization problem is usually modeled as a binary quadratic assignment problem, whereby the stand assignment of a certain aircraft depends on the stand assignment of all other aircraft. The solving time of the optimization problem may increase exponentially with the number of aircraft and stands considered. For this reason, real-case scenarios can be solved only by heuristics in due time. In this paper, we propose a novel approach on modeling and solving the airport gate assignment problem by making use of the game theory. The aim is to identify a Nash equilibrium as a solution of the airport gate assignment problem in the following sense: no aircraft can improve its stand assignment by a sole deviation from its assigned stand. The algorithm is capable of delivering an assignment for a real-case scenario in minutes instead of hours. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated by modeling and solving a real-case scenario for terminal 2 of the Munich Airport.
Hiroko Hirabayashi, Mark Brown, Noboru Takeichi
Journal of Air Transportation, Volume 30, pp 59-70;

A fast-time simulation study was conducted to examine the expansion of flexible track operations into the area occupied by the five North Pacific (NOPAC) air traffic service routes, an area of high traffic demand. In this study, user-preferred routes were created in a proposed NOPAC free route airspace (FRA) area, in which airspace users may design routes with few constraints and compared with current fixed NOPAC route structure by fast-time simulation. To reflect the effect of daily and seasonal wind variations, a clustering analysis approach was applied to select representative wind conditions for flight route generation. Fuel burn was used to evaluate the effect of the NOPAC FRA on the efficiency of flight operations, and potential loss of separation (PLOS) was examined for three minimum lateral separations to evaluate the effects of communication, navigation, and surveillance performance on airspace capacity and air traffic control workload. The simulation results show a trend of increased efficiency of individual NOPAC FRA flight routes, with potential mean fuel consumption savings of 849.2 kg for eastbound Alaska flights and 532.4 kg for westbound North America flights compared with current route configurations. Results of PLOS also show reduced overall PLOS time. This indicates that a NOPAC FRA could improve capacity and efficiency while maintaining or increasing safety.
Satadru Roy, Mark T. Kotwicz Herniczek, Caroline Leonard, Brian J. German, Laurie A. Garrow
Journal of Air Transportation, Volume 30, pp 49-58;

A multicommodity network flow framework for optimal flight scheduling for an envisioned airport shuttle air taxi service is presented. The framework includes a trip generation model that simulates requests from individuals who travel to and from the airport and are willing to pay for the travel time savings associated with an airport shuttle air taxi service. The framework can be used to determine the fleet size required to satisfy a given user demand and to assess how an operator’s profitability can be influenced by multiple factors, including the population density and income distribution in a metropolitan area, fleet size, ticket price, and air taxi operating costs. The results for an example business airport shuttle service to and from Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport suggest that a viable business case is possible using electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. For example, the results for this Atlanta case study indicate that it is possible to have profitable business use case with positive cash flow with a four-seat aircraft with a 60-mile design range and a 150 mph cruise speed using a fleet size of five aircraft at a price point of $5 per passenger-mile during near-term small-scale operations.
, Luis Alvarez, Michael Owen, Benjamin Zintak
Journal of Air Transportation, Volume 30, pp 37-48;

The capability to avoid other air traffic is a fundamental component of the layered conflict management system to ensure safe and efficient operations. The evaluation of systems designed to mitigate the risk of midair collisions of manned aircraft is based on large-scale modeling and simulation efforts and a quantitative volume defined as a near midair collision. Six-degree-of-freedom rigid point mass simulations are routinely employed by standards developing organizations when designing these systems. Because midair collisions are difficult to observe in these simulations and are inherently rare events, basing evaluations on near midair collisions enables a more robust statistical analysis. However, a near midair collision and its underlying assumptions for assessing close encounters with manned aircraft do not adequately consider the different characteristics of smaller drone encounters. The primary contribution of this paper is a quantitative criterion to use when simulating two or more smaller drones in sufficiently close proximity that a midair collision might reasonably occur and without any mitigations to reduce the likelihood of a midair collision. The criteria assume a historically motivated upper bound for the collision likelihood. We also demonstrate that the near midair collision analogs can be used to support modeling and simulation activities.
Angela M. Campbell, , Somil R. Shah, Jeffery A. Schroeder
Journal of Air Transportation, Volume 30, pp 3-22;

Presently, airline pilots are trained to go around if, when lower than 500 ft above the ground, they are outside of a handful of parameters such as airspeed, position, and rate of descent. At times, pilots do not comply with these criteria, perhaps owing to their conservative nature or complexity. This paper examines potential refinements to the continue-to-land decision from the combined results of three flight simulator experiments. Potential refinements include simplifying the number of parameters and lowering the altitude at which pilots make the decision. First, refinements were developed by evaluating pilots’ touchdown performance and qualitative data in a variety of starting and environmental conditions. Second, 30 of those pilots evaluated the refinements under several induced instabilities during the approach. The results showed little difference in touchdown performance when lowering the decision altitude from 500 to 300 ft; however, significant differences arose when the decision altitude was lowered further to 100 ft. The proposed new criteria include assessments of deviations in airspeed and position, no rate-of-descent audio warning, and having an appropriate engine setting at 1000, 500, and 300 ft height above threshold. Additionally, a recommendation is made that if the proposed criteria are not met at the 1000 or 500 ft height above threshold the pilots may make corrections and continue the approach; however, if the criteria are not met at 300 ft, then a go-around should be performed.
Felix Presto, Volker Gollnick, Klaus Lütjens
Journal of Air Transportation, Volume 30, pp 23-36;

Aircraft economies of scale do exist but are challenging to capitalize due to market-related, technical, and regulatory constraints. This study explores the temporal, economic, and ecologic impact of systematically upgauged fleets with the overall goal to assess the potential of frequency regulation. Upgauging refers to increasing aircraft size in terms of its seat capacity. Specifically, the tradeoffs between cash operating cost, fuel consumption, aircraft utilization, air traffic flow management delay, and passenger travel time are investigated within the EUROCONTROL area. Methodically, a fleet assignment model is applied that solves a linear optimization problem for each frequency-reduced route for a long-term timeframe of 20 years (2020–2040). If upgauging is limited to single-aisle aircraft, cash operating cost and fuel consumption savings are the highest with up to 5% on the frequency-reduced routes in 2040. This is accompanied by a decrease of total annual air traffic flow management delay of 17%. Upgauging the fleet into the twin-aisle segment yields a stronger reduction in total annual air traffic flow management delay (21%) but increases cash operating cost and fuel consumption (5 and 7%, respectively). The market entry of a single-aisle new midsize airplane could increase the economic and ecologic attractiveness of upgauging.
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