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Research approach

 

APACHE revolves around a novel framework that is expected to generate optimal trajectories at microscopic level, with the consideration of the business models of the airspace users, and integrate them into a futuristic air traffic flow management scheme where trajectories are strategically de-conflicted at the same time than airspace complexity is also assessed. This framework will be capable of capturing the complex interdependencies of traffic and weather at different scales across the main KPAs that define ATM performance. The same framework can be configured to reproduce current operations (structured en-route network, flight level allocation schemes, conventional air traffic flow management, static sectorisation, etc.). The following figure shows the overall concept of the APACHE framework.

APACHE_framework

 

  • Different scenarios to be studied will be defined, setting up different options regarding the demand of traffic and airspace capacities; the SESAR solutions to be tested; and the level of uncertainty to be studied.
  • The APACHE-TAP (trajectory and airspace planner) will be able to compute a set of optimal (ideal) trajectories and airspace sectorisations, as a function of the input scenario variables, in such a way that safety and complexity levels are maintained below an acceptable level. This set of optimal trajectories and sectorisations will form the different baselines for the new KPIs (key performance indicators) proposed in APACHE to assess ATM performance. In other words, they will be the reference values where the different “Deltas” (deviations from actual operations) will be computed.
  • The performance analyser module will be in charge of assessing these outputs (i.e. optimal baselines of traffic and sectors) generated by the APACHE-TAP and according to the different metrics implemented in the inner performance scheme (new KPIs proposed in the APACHE project and/or current KPIs).
  • This approach can contribute to generate knowledge on the complex interrelations among the different KPAs and may be useful to find the Pareto-front of the ATM performance.

Some interesting remarks arise from the proposed methodology:

  • The advantage of the simulation and optimization tools included in the APACHE is that they can be configured to represent different future or hypothetical scenarios and operational capabilities or contexts. 
  • The APACHE-TAP can be configured to reproduce historical scenarios too (i.e., recorded flight trajectories and sector configurations).
  • In APACHE, new proposed KPIs will coexist with the current performance scheme in order to benchmark the former against the second in current and futuristic operations.

The APACHE framework could be also set up to as a real-time prototype for monitoring and targeting ATM performance. These real-time capabilities could contribute to the effective implementation of Performance Based Operations (PBO).