Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Formation flight investigation for highly efficient future civil transport aircraft

  • G.J. Durango (a1), C. Lawson (a1) and A.Z. Shahneh (a1)

Abstract

Formation flight could greatly assist the air transport industry in tackling the challenges of environmental impact, excessive reliance on fuel and overcapacity. Previous studies have shown drag reductions leading to significant fuel savings for aircraft in formation relative to their solo flight. Safety is guaranteed with the use of extended formation distances, and practical implementation issues could be solved in the near future. Since studies so far have focused on existing aircraft configurations and technology, a case study using a strut-braced wing airliner was carried out to ascertain its applicability to less conventional craft. The present results did not indicate such clear-cut benefits. If formation flight is to be successful and beneficial for the next generations of aircraft, it will be vital to consider its interaction with new technologies developed for highly efficient operation, in particular those aimed at reduction of aircraft drag such as laminar flow, and to do so early in the design of aerospace vehicles and wider systems.

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
1.Penner, J.E, Lister, D.H., Griggs, D.J., Dokken, D.J. and McFarland, M.Aviation and the global atmosphere: A special report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC in Collaboration with the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1999, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
2.US Energy Information Administration. Annual Energy Outlook 2014, Office of Communications, 2014, Washington, DC, US.
3.Brownbridge, G., Azadi, P., Smallbone, A., Bhave, A., Taylor, B. and Kraft, M.The future viability of algae-derived biodiesel under economic and technical uncertainties, J. Bioresource Technology, January 2014, 151, pp 166173.
4.Airbus. Global market forecast 2013–2032, 2013, Airbus S.A.S., Blagnac, France.
5.Budd, L., Griggs, S., and Howarth, D.Sustainable aviation futures: Crises, contested realities and prospects for change, Transport and Sustainability, 2013, 4, pp 335.
6.Lissaman, P. B. S. and Shollenberger, C. A.Formation flight of birds, Science, May 1970, 168, (3934), pp 10031005.
7.Weimerskirch, H., Martin, J., Clerquin, Y., Alexandre, P. and Jiraskova, S.Energy saving in flight formation, Nature, October 2001, 413, (6857), pp 697698.
8.Ning, S.A. Aircraft Drag Reduction through Extended Formation Flight, 2011, PhD dissertation, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics of Stanford University, Stanford, California, US.
9.Frota, J.NACRE novel aircraft concepts. The Aeronautical J., June 2010, 114, (1156), pp 399404.
10.Greitzer, E.M., Bonnefoy, P.A., De la Rosa Blanco, E., Dorbian, C.S., Drela, M., Hall, D.K., Hansman, R.J., Hileman, J.I., Liebeck, R.H., Lovegren, J., Mody, P., Pertuze, J.A., Sato, S., Spakovszky, Z.S., Tan, C.S., Hollman, J.S., Duda, J.E., Fitzgerald, N., Houghton, J., Kerrebrock, J.L., Kiwada, G.F., Kordonowy, D., Parrish, J.C., Tylko, J., Wen, E.A. and Lord, W.K. N+3 Aircraft Concept Designs and Trade Studies, Final Report, Volume 1, NASA/CR-2010-216794, 2010, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, US.
11.Bertin, J.J. and Cummings, R.M.Aerodynamics for Engineers, 5th ed, 2008, Pearson Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, US.
12.Ray, R.J., Cobleigh, B.R., Vachon, M.J. and John, C. St. Flight test techniques used to evaluate performance benefits during formation flight, NASA/TP-2002-210730, 2002.
13.Kless, J.E., Aftosmis, M.J., Ning, S.A. and Nemec, M.Inviscid analysis of extended-formation flight, AIAA J., July 2013, 51, (7), pp 17031715.
14.Bower, G.C., Flanzer, T.C. and Kroo, I.M. Formation geometries and route optimization for commercial formation flight, AIAA 2009–3615, 27th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, 22-25 June 2009, San Antonio, US.
15.Ning, S.A., Flanzer, T.C. and Kroo, I.M.Aerodynamic performance of extended formation flight, J. Aircraft, May-June 2011, 48, (3), pp 855865.
16.Hummel, D. The use of aircraft wakes to achieve power reductions in formation flight, AGARD Conference Proceedings 584, NATO, AGARD Fluid Dynamics Panel Symposium on “The Characteristics & Modification of Wakes from Lifting Vehicles in Fluids”, 20-23 May 1996, Trondheim, Norway.
17.Bieniawski, S.R., Clark, R.W., Rosenzweig, S.E. and Blake, W.B. Summary of flight testing and results for the formation flight for aerodynamic benefit program, AIAA 2014-1457, 52nd Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 13-17 January 2014, National Harbor, Maryland, US.
18.Haalas, D.J., Bieniawski, S.R., Whitehead, B.T., Flanzer, T. and Blake, W.B. Formation flight for aerodynamic benefit simulation development and validation, AIAA 2014-1459, 52nd Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 13-17 January 2014, National Harbor, Maryland, US.
19.Flanzer, T.C., Bieniawski, S.R. and Blake, W.B. Operational analysis for the formation flight for aerodynamic benefit program, AIAA 2014-1460, 52nd Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 13-17 January 2014, National Harbor, Maryland, US.
20.Pahle, J., Berger, D., Venti, M.W., Faber, J.J., Duggan, C. and Cardinal, K. A preliminary flight investigation of formation flight for drag reduction on the C-17 aircraft, NASA DFRC-E-DAA-TN4717, 2013, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, US.
21.Federal Aviation Administration. FAR part 91 – general operating and flight rules, Federal Regulations, Title 14 –Aeronautics and Space, Vol.2, Chapter I, Subchapter F – Air Traffic and General Operating Rules, 2013, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, US.
22.International Civil Aviation Organization. RVSM Separation for RVSM compliant aircraft operating in formation flights, 15th Meeting of the APANPIRG ATM/AIS/SAR Sub-Group, 25-29 July 2005, Bangkok, Thailand.
23.Eurocontrol Statfor. Seven-year IFR Flight Movements and Service Units Forecast: 2013–2019, ed. 1.0, 2013.
24.Xu, J., Ning, S.A., Bower, G. and Kroo, I.M. Aircraft route optimization for heterogeneous formation flight, AIAA 2012-1524, 53rd AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference, 23-26 April 2012, Honolulu, Hawaii, US.
25.Durango, G.Flight path performance of the AT-13 aircraft, School of Engineering, 2014, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK.
26.Eshelby, M.E. Aircraft Performance – Theory and Practice, 2000, Elsevier, London, UK.
27.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and United States Air Force. U.S. Standard Atmosphere 1976, NASA-TM-X-7433b, NASA, Washington, DC, US.
28.ESDU. Item 78008: Physical properties of design atmospheres, IHS (1st issued 1978), 1992.
29.Hoerner, S.F. Fluid-Dynamic Drag, 1965, Bricktown, New Jersey, US.
30.Fink, R. USAF Stability and Control DATCOM, AFWAL-TR-83-3048, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Division, for the Flight Controls Division, Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, April 1978, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, US.
31.Drela, M. and Youngren, H. AVL-Aerodynamic Analysis, Trim Calculation, Dynamic Stability Analysis, Aircraft Configuration Development, Overview, 2014. Available online from: web.mit.edu/drela/Public/web/avl/ [Last accessed: 26/12/2014].
32.Torenbeek, E. Advanced Aircraft Design: Conceptual Design, Analysis and Optimisation of Subsonic Civil Airplanes, 2013, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK.
33.Moler, C. Numerical Computing with MATLAB, Web edition version, 2004. Available online from: www.mathworks.co.uk/moler/chapters.html. [Last accessed 26/12/2014].
34.Slotnick, J.P., Clark, R.W., Friedman, D.M., Yadlin, Y., Yeh, D.T., Carr, J.E., Czech, M.J. and Bieniawski, S.W. Computational aerodynamic analysis for the formation flight for aerodynamic benefit program, AIAA 2014-1458, 52nd Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 13-17 January 2014, National Harbor, Maryland, US.
35.Gubisch, M.Go with the flow, Flight Int. Magazine, July 26–Aug. 1, 2011, 180, (5301), pp 2426.
36.Dautriat, E. Clean Sky: Bringing sustainable air transport closer, “Innovation for sustainable aviation in a global environment”, Proceedings of the Sixth European Aeronautics Days (30 March - 1 April 2011, Madrid, Spain), 2012, IOS Press, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
37.Morscheck, F. Analyses on an air to air refueling network in a traffic simulation, 29th Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS), 7-12 September 2014, St. Petersburg, Russia.
38.Felder, J.L., Kim, H.D. and Brown, G.V. Turboelectric distributed propulsion engine cycle analysis for hybrid-wing-body aircraft, AIAA 2009-1132, 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including The New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, 5-8 January 2009, Orlando, Florida, US.

Keywords

Formation flight investigation for highly efficient future civil transport aircraft

  • G.J. Durango (a1), C. Lawson (a1) and A.Z. Shahneh (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed