4. May 2018 | Press releases:

Successful participation at Boeing ecoDemonstrator program Focus on Research: Energy Transition in Aviation

The institute of Flight Guidance of TU Braunschweig successfully participated in the current Boeing ecoDemonstrator program. The TUBraunschweig team led by Dr. Thomas Feuerle collaborated on the so called FPA (fixed flight path angle) descent procedure concept together with colleagues of Eletronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI, Tokyo) and Jeppesen (Germany and US). Dr. Feuerle celebrated the successful completion of the flight trials during a technology fair at Jeppesen headquarters in Denver just recently (see group photo).

In the frame of the collaboration between the three partners ENRI (Japan), Jeppesen (Germany and US) and TU Braunschweig the concept of the “Fixed Flight Path Angle Approaches” had been developed and in full flight simulator trials initially validated. The flight trials within the ecoDemonstrator program finally ended the current research project. The main objective of the FPA concept is to follow a predefined descent path with a given flight path angle. The continuous descent operation will allow the aircraft to operate at close to idle engine operation which will reduce fuel costs as well as noise emissions. The main difference to current Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) is that the path in time and position is predefined and therefore much better predictable for air traffic control.

The Institute of Flight Guidance of TU Braunschweig contributed to the development and integration of the FPA concept into the operational environment.

Comment of Dr. Thomas Feuerle: “We expect savings in fuel burn and noise emission after a successful implementation after a successful implementation of the concept. At the moment the data gathered during the flight trials will be evaluated and compared to the results of full flight simulator trials. The planning of next steps are quite advanced where we want to demonstrate the huge potential of this concept. A huge benefit will be that no changes to existing aircraft are necessary for initial operation.”

Background information on ecoDemonstrator:

  • Yearly program of Boeing Commercial Airplanes to demonstrate and test new technologies and procedures
  • In 2018 a FedEx Boeing 777 freighter has been used
  • Jeppesen GmbH (a 100% Boeing-subsidiary based in Neu-Isenburg close to Frankfurt; long standing cooperation partner of TU Braunschweig) was involved with software solutions for an optimized airline operation