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Climate-compatible Air Transport System
Minimizing the climate impacts of aviation is among the most difficult challenges facing aviation industry and air traffic management, requiring a reliable assessment of aviation-induced climate change. Substantial scientific uncertainties are currently hampering a targeted reduction of climatic effects. A sound metric is not available that could be used to compare the climate forcings caused by aviation with those from other natural and anthropogenic sources. An acknowledged scientific basis is lacking that would enable appropriate consideration of aviation in the emissions-trading schemes discussed in the European Union.
Reduction of Present Uncertainties
An important goal is to create the scientific basis for a sustainable development of global aviation and to identify and assess the corresponding technological options. This requires the climatic impact of the entire air transport system to be quantified for given emission scenarios.
Mitigation strategies To minimise the impact of air traffic on climate is a multidisciplinary and cooperative task with many options. Under discussion are the use of more advanced and lighter materials, more efficient propulsion techniques, and innovative designs. In addition to technological measures at the air vehicles, improvements in air operations and routings may also contribute to a reduction of negative climate effects. Atmospheric layers which are conducive to the generation of condensation trails could by avoided by higher or lower cruising levels.
Weather and Flying
Weather contributes both directly and indirectly to delays, incidents, and accidents in air traffic. The increasing demand for air transport makes air traffic more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. But “weather” is not a technical problem that can be simply solved. Predicting weather is by nature difficult and only possible within limits. It is therefore necessary to observe and forecast the changing state of the atmosphere as precisely and as timely as possible. This must be followed by a combination of measures for air traffic management and tactical manoeuvring, on the ground and in the aircraft, to minimise the impact of adverse weather conditions.
Modern air traffic management requires custom-oriented weather monitoring and prognosis techniques as basis for proper decision making. The prognosis system should provide high spatial and temporal accuracy and the products must be tailored for the time horizons and decision criteria of air traffic control and management, airline operation centres, and flight crews. These specific products need specific sets of weather measurement and prediction data, which, in turn, require a combination of tools and methods to measure, nowcast, and forecast adverse weather, and, finally, inform the stakeholders.
Winter weather can severely impair the road and air traffic with respect to punctuality, efficiency and safety. The institute deals with all safety-related problems of winter weather. This comprises the determination of the type, duration and intensity of winter precipitation as well as the investigation of atmospheric conditions leading to icing at aircraft.
To minimise the impact of adverse conditions (wind gusts, wind shear and wake vortices etc.) on the flight performance, automated flight control systems and evasion-manoeuvre methods are developed. The requirements for forward-looking on-board sensors to detect such hazards shall be specified and the feasibility to produce the novel sensors shall be elaborated. This particular work will be conducted in collaboration with EADS – Innovation Works who possesses a prototype airborne gust sensor.
Wake vortices of aircraft
The lift force exerted on aircraft wings produces two counter-rotating vortices with long life-times in the wake of an aircraft. Especially during the critical landing phase wake vortices can endanger any aircraft following close behind. The following aircraft must therefore maintain a prescribed safety distance.
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