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Aircraft Trajectory Optimization and Contrails Avoidance in the Presence of WindsThere are indications that persistent contrails can lead to adverse climate change, although the complete effect on climate forcing is still uncertain. A flight trajectory optimization algorithm with fuel and contrails models, which develops alternative flight paths, provides policy makers the necessary data to make tradeoffs between persistent contrails mitigation and aircraft fuel consumption. This study develops an algorithm that calculates wind-optimal trajectories for cruising aircraft while avoiding the regions of airspace prone to persistent contrails formation. The optimal trajectories are developed by solving a non-linear optimal control problem with path constraints. The regions of airspace favorable to persistent contrails formation are modeled as penalty areas that aircraft should avoid and are adjustable. The tradeoff between persistent contrails formation and additional fuel consumption is investigated, with and without altitude optimization, for 12 city-pairs in the continental United States. Without altitude optimization, the reduction in contrail travel times is gradual with increase in total fuel consumption. When altitude is optimized, a two percent increase in total fuel consumption can reduce the total travel times through contrail regions by more than six times. Allowing further increase in fuel consumption does not seem to result in proportionate decrease in contrail travel times.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Ng, Hok K.
(California Univ. Santa Cruz, CA, United States)
Chen, Neil Y.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
September 13, 2010
Subject Category
Aircraft Stability And Control
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: September 13, 2010
End Date: September 15, 2010
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 411931.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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