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Title: Flight path optimization in free route airspace using A*Search
Authors: Goh, Leslie Peck Yong
Keywords: DRNTU::Engineering
DRNTU::Engineering::Aeronautical engineering::Air navigation
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: This paper aims to develop a method to help pilots choose the most optimal flight route to their destination in Free Route Airspace. Currently, in Free Route Airspace (FRA), pilots are handed the task of planning their flight path to their destination instead of air traffic controllers. This gives pilots flexibility in planning their flight routes and allows them to take a shorter and more direct routes instead of flying by the conventional ATS Route Network. The concept of FRA brings about many benefits such as: reduction of flight time, better weight optimization, reduction of fuel waste and carbon emission. As of now, researchers are currently working on computer algorithms to help pilots optimize their flight routes according to FRA restrictions but have not devised a solid working model yet. This paper seeks to develop a method through the use of the A*Search Algorithm in 4 dimensions (x,y,z,t) to help pilots plan their flight paths in FRA as well as share the limitations of using this algorithm. In this project, this algorithm is being improved on and transformed into a 4 dimensional path planning algorithm with 4 variables namely, X-coordinate, Y-coordinate, Z-coordinate and time. In this new algorithm, time is included to forecast the position of where bad weather would likely occur. This is done through the use of the velocities and acceleration of the current wind data to approximate where bad weather clouds would shift to after a certain amount of time. From the results of this project, the 4 dimensional path planning algorithm is able to find an almost optimal path from one waypoint to another until the final destination is reached while avoiding all forecasted bad weather areas. However, the path plotted by the algorithm is not fully optimal due to limitations of A*Search which will be discussed further in the later parts of this paper. Overall, A*Search gives a reasonably good approximate of an optimal flight path for pilots to plan their flight routes in FRA, but it does not necessarily give the absolute shortest route.
Schools: School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MAE Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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