Evaluation of Continuous Descent Approach in Normal Air Traffic Conditions

This project investigates the impact of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) about the inbound traffic in the terminal airspace. The impact includes fuel consumption and total flight time savings. This project differs from other CDA projects in that it evaluates the CDA under normal air traffic conditions where congested traffic is taken into account. Flying a CDA trajectory increases the risk of potential collision as the pilot may have less control on the aircraft under near idel thrust settings. Evaluation of fuel consumption and flight time only makes sense when the inbound traffic employing CDA is conflict-free. Safety can be guaranteed by employing conflict detection resolutions (CDR). Although tactic manuevers, such as heading change, horizontal speed change, and vertical speed change, are able to solve the most immediate collision, they potentially interrupt the near idel thrust settings. Consequently, the CDA trajectory is aborted. In this project, a strategic solution is developed which sequences the arriving aircraft under minimum separation constraints as well as miles-in-trail constraints. In addition to inter-aircraft separation, this project also takes into account the mutual interference between streams flowing into airports of a metroplex. The fuel consumption and delay for deconfliction are counted when the fuel and flight time savings are evaluated. The proposed CDR is applied to the major airports and metroplex airports in the United States. Fuel statistic and flight time are obtained from the Future ATM Concept Evaluation Tool (FACET). By comparing the conflict-free CDA to the conflict-free Step-down approach, the benefits of CDA as well as the associated trade-off are quantified.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 24p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01535703
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: PROJECT 40
  • Contract Numbers: 09-C-NE-PU-004
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 25 2014 10:10AM