Identifikation und Modellierung ziviler Formationsflüge auf Basis von globalen Flugplandaten

Autor: Karim Drews

Prüfer: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gordon Konieczny
Prüfer: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Gollnick



This study estimates the potential fuel saving of formation flight on a global level. The constraints are set to maintain departure times of the input flight schedule and prohibit any adjustment to the cruise speed to join the Rendezvous point of the formation. The input consists of a one-week dataset of over 34000 long-haul flights with seven aircraft types of the HEAVY wake vortex category. In a first step the promising potential formations are identified by a heuristic filtering method. The flight paths of the 2.5 million identified formations are modeled in a succeeding step. All flight paths are generated as great circle segments by an enhanced fermat point approach for spherical triangles to determine the best possible flight path for the formation. This path ensures that all aircraft stay within their performance envelope. Surrogate models are then applied to estimate the relative fuel saving of each formation; allowing each flight to be assigned to its most fuel saving formation. The developed method is able to assign 57 % of the considered flights to a formation. The remaining 14784 flights fly their original solo mission. Each of the selected Formations saves on average 5.44 % of fuel against the reference missions of the two participating flights. In order to join the formation each flight makes an average detour of 3.19 % of its reference flight distance leading to mean additional flight time of 20 minutes. Formation flight can help to globally save more than 50000 tons of fuel per week.