formation flight, route optimization, heterogenous formations, formation flight scheduling, multilevel optimization, discrete optimization
We examine the value of extended formation flight in the context of airline operations. The study is based on a bi-level route optimization framework. The aircraft performance model includes the effects of rolled-up wakes, formation heterogeneity, and formation-induced compressibility effects. We incorporate airline economics to understand the trade-off between speed and drag savings in the context of formation flight. The application of formation flight to a representative South African Airlines (SAA) long-haul route network can reduce fuel burn by over 4.6% or reduce direct operating cost by 2.1%. The savings increase to 6.8% in fuel or 2.4% in cost when we consider a large-scale Star Alliance transatlantic route network. Finally, the impact of compressibility on total fleet fuel and cost metrics is shown to be insignificant.
Original Publication Citation
Xu, J., Ning, A., Bower, G., and Kroo, I., “Aircraft Route Optimization for Heterogeneous Formation Flight,” 53rd AIAA Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, Apr. 2012. doi:10.2514/6.2012-1524
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Xu, Jia; Ning, Andrew; Bower, Geoffrey; and Kroo, Ilan, "Aircraft Route Optimization for Heterogeneous Formation Flight" (2012). All Faculty Publications. 1749.
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology
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