Availability and reliability of electrified regional aircraft for on-demand systems



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For the expansion of regional short-haul transport, research has been conducted for years on the technical development of small aircraft concepts, so-called air taxis. As an environmentally friendly and modern alternative to regional ground-based transport systems, these are also intended to promote the European vision Flightpath 2050, which is to make any inner-European routes possible within four hours.

While past research projects have mainly focused on the technical development or maturity of corresponding aircraft designs, a holistic view of the transport system is still missing. Thus, there is uncertainty about the actual availability and reliability of transport performance in regular, everyday flight operations. External influences due to adverse weather conditions as well as delays in passenger handling can jeopardize scheduled flight operations.

Within the framework of the project, the real flight and operating conditions are to be quantified and modelled for the successful introduction of this transport system. Using high-resolution meteorological data, exogenous weather-related factors influencing flight operations, such as strong winds, gusts, fog and ice, will be determined. Furthermore, land and airside processes and the infrastructure at airfields are also analyzed. The focus is primarily on small, partially electrically operated fixed-wing aircraft concepts and a point-to-point connection between individual airfields.

Based on these investigations, the requirements for aircraft design under difficult operating conditions can be derived for the first time and integrated into the design process. Future designs and traffic concepts can thus be optimized for real requirements in flight operations. The aim is to optimize the design of new and existing air taxi designs, as well as to adjust the land and airside equipment of the airfields, thereby quantifying a possible increase in transport availability while ensuring safe and passenger-friendly air mobility.

The joint project is funded as part of the aviation research program LuFo VI-1 of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and is carried out in cooperation with the Institute of Transport Sciences at RWTH Aachen University and the Institute of Air Transport Systems at Hamburg University of Technology.

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