When in flight, aircraft generate turbulence behind them known as wake vortices, which can affect the air traffic that follows. DLR is currently testing a wake turbulence warning system in flight experiments using its ATRA and Falcon research aircraft.
For new, quieter descent procedures, pilots must adhere precisely to a predetermined sequence of actions during the landing phase. DLR has developed a pilot assistance system that optimises landings, making them safer, quieter and more fuel-efficient.
Slower landing approaches by aircraft lead to less noise. How slow, steep and hence quiet a modern commercial aircraft can arrive at a destination airport is determined by the performance of the high-lift system with its retractable slats and flaps on the wings. Another advantage of reduced landing speeds is that shorter runways can be used. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has joined with Airbus, and the European Transonic Wind Tunnel (ETW) in the three-part project HINVA (High lift INflight VAlidation), consisting of wind tunnel experiments, flight tests and computer simulations. The aim is to combine computer models and wind tunnel tests to substantially improve predictions of high-lift performance and hence pave the way for slower and quieter approach flights. In early February, the project performed unique wind tunnel experiments at cryogenic temperatures in the ETW in Cologne. Equipped with laser measurement technology and other advanced measurement systems, the researchers achieved hitherto unknown precision in detecting the flowfield around an Airbus A320 with extended landing flaps and slats under flight-representative conditions. The researchers had constructed a high precision wind tunnel model specifically for the tests, based on flow measurements performed during in-flight tests with the DLR A320 ATRA research aircraft.
The concrete tube stretching across the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Trauen might only be 3.3 metres wide, but every now and then it becomes outer space for around 10 seconds.
Researchers from DLR based at Göttingen and Braunschweig have succeeded for the first time in visualising the main cause of what makes helicopters so noisy while in the air.
Ideas for the airport of the future arise in Hamburg. On 27 and 28 November 2013, researchers at DLR, together with numerous industrial and university research partners in the Lighthouse Project 'Airport 2030', presented their final results in the Conference Centre at Hamburg Airport.
The sound of aircraft engines starting up – an everyday occurrence in many towns close to airports. To help develop quieter aircraft engines, scientists from DLR are going to use contactless laser metrology and microphones for the very first time to investigate the sources of noise inside jet engines and on the main fan.
How many electric cars will be using Germany's roads in 2020? None of us have a crystal ball and this will depend on a wide variety of factors.
A windscreen full of insect remains is a familiar experience on the roads in summer. It is no different on the runway at the airport. On warm days, aircraft sometimes collide with entire swarms of insects as they take off and land. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are working in partnership with Airbus to investigate how the resulting large-scale contamination disturbs the airflow over new wing designs in particular, thus putting targeted fuel savings at risk. Extremely low-level flights by the DLR ATRA research aircraft over Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport have shown experts in flow patterns how small flying animals affect aircraft. The aim is to create hi-tech wings that incorporate insect protection for the future.
On 4 May 2013 at 04:06 (CEST), when the European Proba-V satellite lifts off on a Vega launcher with the primary mission of observing vegetation from space, it will be carrying another instrument on board – one that will be keeping an 'eye' on aircraft.