Development of Simplified Airborne Computations for Fuel Conservative Descents in a Time-Based Metered Air Traffic Environment 810642
The NASA has developed and flight-tested a simple flight management descent algorithm designed to improve the accuracy of delivering an airplane in a fuel-conservative manner to a metering fix at a time designated by air traffic control. This algorithm provides a three-dimensional path with terminal area time constraints (four-dimensional) for an airplane to make an idle-thrust, clean-configured (landing gear up, flaps zero, and speed brakes retracted) descent to arrive at the metering fix at a predetermined time, altitude, and airspeed. The descent path is calculated for a constant Mach/airspeed schedule from linear approximations of airplane performance with considerations given for gross weight, wind, and nonstandard pressure and temperature effects. Applications of the four-dimensional and descent planning capabilities of the algorithm to conventional airplanes is being investigated. This report describes the flight management descent algorithm and presents the results of the flight tests flown with the Terminal Configured Vehicle airplane.