Philadelphia International Airport Expansion Plan

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Philadelphia International Airport Expansion Plan

Philadelphia International Airport Expansion Plan

Introduction and Rationale

The role of the runway controller in the simulation is performed by a search which was designed to form the basis of an online decision support system. Both the simulation and the decision support system are fully described in the paper. We use the results to evaluate what effect upon delay we would expect from various changes that could be made to the departure system. We end the paper by drawing conclusions about the predicted effectiveness of different changes that could be made to the departure system and focus upon a further opportunity for a decision support system. In this paper we focus upon the departure system for Philadelphia airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. Decreasing the delay for aircraft awaiting take-off with their engines running would decrease fuel usage and have consequent cost and pollution benefits. In this paper we explain how the departure system at Philadelphia currently works and the various constraints that apply to take-off schedules. We present a model for the take-off order problem from the point of view of the runway controller, the person who currently performs the take-off scheduling. We investigate the effects of each constraint and combination of constraints, using a simulation of the Philadelphia departure system.

Aircraft that take off have to maintain a given safe separation distance in flight. To ensure that the in-flight separation distance will be attained, a second type of minimum separation time is also required between aircraft at take-off. Aircraft depart along specific, pre-defined departure routes called Standard Instrument Departure routes, or SIDs. This second separation depends upon the departure routes of the aircraft; a larger separation being needed if routes are similar than if they diverge very quickly. It can be worked out from the SIDs of the two aircraft and is then modified by the speed groups of the aircraft to allow for divergence or convergence in flight due to the following aircraft being slower or faster than the preceding one; the modification rules also depend upon the SIDs that are being used.

Project Objectives & Scope

Separations must be imposed between aircraft taking off, to ensure safety both at take-off and in-flight. Wake vortices are left behind aircraft at takeoff; the size depending upon the size of the aircraft. Following aircraft may be affected by the wake vortices if they take off too soon; smaller aircraft being more affected than larger aircraft. A minimum separation time is therefore mandated between any pair of aircraft, being larger whenever a smaller class of aircraft follows a larger class of aircraft. For this reason it is often useful to group aircraft by weight class, reducing the number of larger separations needed.

In many cases, whether an aircraft can overtake another aircraft depends upon what other aircraft are doing and how congested the holding area is at the time. The take-off sequencing problem that we address in this paper can be ...
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