Air-Ground Integration

Symbolic illustration of air-ground integration.
Strategic Studies clearly have stated that there is a need to further integrate airborne and ground functions in order to cope with the increasing requirements regarding capacity and safety. To secure safe, efficient and environmental friendly air traffic management (ATM) this area follows a research vision of 4D-trajectories.

This area comprises the operational and technical know-how about concepts, procedures and tools related to the integration of airborne and ground ATM systems. It investigates in concepts and procedures to benefit from new enabling technologies that further integrate ground and airborne functions. It will also develop new airborne functions and decision support tools for air ground co-operative ATM.

In order to provide a response to the present airport capacity and future environmental constraints this area performs research to

  • develop and implement additional procedures and operational concepts
  • develop and implement technology and systems
  • use available capacity more efficiently
  • provide additional capacity and efficiency
  • minimize the environmental impact of airport operations
  • maintain or even improve today’s safety level.

The principle of the 4D-trajectory is based on strategic planning of aircraft positions in time during each phase of the flight. This requires the development of additional procedures and operational concepts. To allow the cooperation between ground ATC and air crew new technologies and systems have to be implemented.

One key issue of future ATM will be to better utilize the technological capabilities of up-to-date and future aircraft. Based on satellite navigation today’s aircraft are already capable to navigate precisely but independent of ground based navigation aids. This results in a more flexible and efficient use of the available airspace.

However, an optimized planning and control of air traffic will require precise aircraft guidance in time as well. Among others this will allow a better traffic synchronization and predictability of air traffic. This will directly enable an optimized use of limiting resources like e.g. runways in mix mode operations.

Potential conflicts can be detected well in advanced and consequently be avoided in an efficient manner. Data link communication with ATC as well as with other aircraft will provide the pilot with a comprehensive awareness of the traffic situation. Thus enables the pilot to perform delegated spacing and separation tasks and to ensure better adherence to ATC separation minima in en-route, terminal, and approach airspace.

Dr.-Ing. Bernd Korn
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Flight Guidance
, Pilot Assistance
Tel: +49 531 295-2540

Fax: +49 531 295-2550

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