To enable arriving aircraft to fly optimized descents computed by the flight management system (FMS) in congested airspace, ground automation must accurately predict descent trajectories. To support development of the trajectory predictor and its uncertainty models, commercial flights executed idle-thrust descents at a specified descent speed, and the recorded data included the specified descent speed profile, aircraft weight, and the winds entered into the FMS as well as the radar data. The FMS computed the intended descent path assuming idle thrust after top of descent (TOD), and the controllers and pilots then endeavored to allow the FMS to fly the descent to the meter fix with minimal human intervention. The horizontal flight path, cruise and meter fix altitudes, and actual TOD location were extracted from the radar data. Using approximately 70 descents each in Boeing 757 and Airbus 319/320 aircraft, multiple regression estimated TOD location as a linear function of the available predictive factors. The cruise and meter fix altitudes, descent speed, and wind clearly improve goodness of fit. The aircraft weight improves fit for the Airbus descents but not for the B757. Except for a few statistical outliers, the residuals have absolute value less than 5 nmi. Thus, these predictive factors adequately explain the TOD location, which indicates the data do not include excessive noise.

Original document

The different versions of the original document can be found in:

Back to Top

Document information

Published on 01/01/2010

Volume 2010, 2010
DOI: 10.2514/6.2010-9116
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

Document Score


Views 0
Recommendations 0

Share this document


claim authorship

Are you one of the authors of this document?