(Stockholm, Sweden, June 17, 2008) -- EUROCONTROL recently initiated a first series of flight trials at Arlanda Airport in order to validate the airborne controlled time of arrival (CTA) functionality. On 5 June Scandinavian Airlines flights SK049, SK1013, SK009, SK1045 and SK011 were assigned times to the entry point approximately 25 minutes before reaching the Stockholm terminal area (TMA). The pilots of these flights then relied on onboard functions to ensure that the aircraft arrived at the assigned times with an (initially estimated) accuracy of +/-10 seconds.
"The key challenge Europe is facing in the medium and long term is to decrease the time aircraft have to spend in orbital holdings and on extended level segments during arrival," said EUROCONTROL expert Volker Huck. "Cassis can achieve continuous descents with the required time of arrival at TMA entry points, merging points, initial and final approach fixes and even the runway threshold. This reduces fuel burn, emissions and noise without limiting runway throughput."
The project, called Cassis - CTA ATM System Integration Studies, is investigating how airborne controlled time of arrival can support future operational concepts for arrival management at airports, bringing efficiencies on the ground and for the airlines.
The initial wave of flight trials, which will continue until the end of July, will be followed by a second wave - running from September to December 2008. These trials will further investigate the accuracy of the aircraft flight management system in meeting times to points within the terminal area, including the runway. Trials will also be carried out London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol airports.
By March 2009, Cassis will deliver a concept of operations based on the SESAR concept as well as a description of the steps that will bring CTA applications into operation. For Stockholm Arlanda, where downlinks of estimated times of arrival and 4D trajectories have been ongoing during live trials, the process of validating CTA applications will continue, using commercial revenue flights.