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Honeywell Develops Trajectory Management System for SESAR

Honeywell Develops Trajectory Management System for SESAR

Honeywell has developed and demonstrated a significant enabler for a proactive in-flight trajectory management system. The system will enhance safety, efficiency, and situational awareness to improve the flying experience for both flight crews and passengers.  It analyzes available weather and aeronautical data, sends updates to the aircraft via datalink, and displays the information graphically using the pilot’s electronic flight bag application.

The PJ18 4D Trajectory Management project is part of the SESAR 2020 initiative, designed to modernize air traffic management in the European Union. SESAR – which stands for Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research – is now in the first wave of its second phase.

Honeywell is a major participant in the SESAR initiative. PJ18 is one of several dozen SESAR projects that have involved Honeywell, according to Stanislav Foltan and Karol Molnar, senior R&D scientists with the Honeywell Advanced Technology team in the Czech Republic.

Our goal was to develop a system that helps pilots to find the safest and most efficient trajectory in the context of most up-to-date weather conditions and ATM constraints in an easy-to-understand graphical format on the pilot’s tablet,” Foltan said. “The application opens up communications between the flight crew, air traffic control, and other ground operations and puts everyone on the same page.”

Along with other SESAR projects, 4D Trajectory Management will help air traffic management authorities and operators to handle greater volumes of air traffic in the future, Molnar added.

“Better air traffic management means better on-time performance and fuel efficiency for airlines and other operators. In addition, the system enables greater awareness of airspace restrictions that civilian and military pilots may encounter and need to avoid,” he said. 

Honeywell’s contribution was to provide insights to the flight crew in advance so they can alter and smooth out the flown trajectory as needed and keep the control authority in the loop. “As always, the plan is one thing, and reality is another,” said Molnar. “This application keeps flight crews apprised of changes in conditions since they received their preflight briefing.”

The PJ18 project was launched in 2016 and completed with a validation exercise in December, Foltan said. “This was an exciting challenge for a small Honeywell team of data scientists, operations experts, human experience team members, and pilots. It was very satisfying to work with our external partners and aviation authorities from around the EU on a relatively small project that will have a big impact on flight efficiency in the years to come.”