4D Trajectory Concept and Implementation

A lot of the technique in Air Traffic Management (ATM) and so a lot of procedures were based on implementations in the 60's and 70's of the 20th century. Development for new ATM standards date back to the 1980's. Today in Europe and the United States (US) there are two big projects under way to modernize the whole range of ATM and guarantee future capabilities. Parts of the proposed new standards are already deployed in daily operations ...

In Europe this project is called Single European Sky ATM Research Programme (SESAR) which started in 2005 (see source) the pendant in the US is Next Generation Air Transportation System (NEXTGEN). A close interoperability between the two systems is intended. Beside a lot of features that will be implemented into the ATM-system in europe within the upcoming years one very interesting is the 4D Trajectory Concept. This concept is based on the integration of time into the 3D aircraft trajectory (for further details click here).

On March 2014, an Airbus A320 test aircraft flew from Toulouse to Copenhagen and then back to Toulouse testing initial four-dimensional (I-4D) flight operations. This flight trial is the very first live demonstration of an initial four-dimensional flight, and is a key element of the SESAR programe towards 4D trajectory management.