International audience; The delegation to the flight crew of some tasks currently performed by air traffic controllers provides new perspectives potentially to increase air traffic control efficiency. More specifically, the task of establishing properly spaced landing sequences is very demanding in heavy traffic conditions for the air traffic controllers in charge of the terminal maneuvering area. Automatic merging operations could relieve air traffic controllers of providing time-consuming radar-vectoring instructions and could provide more optimal flight profiles to the aircraft. With these new tasks being transferred to the flight crew some automation in order to limit the workload is required. The outcomes of this paper are twofold: firstly it presents a technique to generate path stretching with length and endpoint constraints and secondly it provides a nonlinear control law to track the reference trajectory. The reference trajectory is used to stretch the path of a trailing aircraft in order to delay its arrival on a meter fix. The purpose of the nonlinear control law based on feedback linearization is to enable the trailing aircraft to follow the reference trajectory. This communication treats level flight, but wind is considered. The design is followed by two illustrative examples which show the effectiveness of the proposed approach.
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