NAV Canada progresses fuel, emissions project for trans-Atlantic flights

OTTAWA, Ontario, 15 Nov. 2012. NAV Canada launched the second phase of the ENGAGE Demonstration collaborative initiative to reduce aircraft fuel burn and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the North Atlantic, reportedly the world's busiest oceanic airspace.

A Consortium of NAV Canada and Air France won the ENGAGE II contract from the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) as part of the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) program. NAV Canada is leading the ENGAGE II Demonstration project in partnership with Air France and NATS, the United Kingdom's air navigation service provider.

“The SJU continues to show confidence in our ability to employ new technology and procedures in the global efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of the aviation industry," says Rudy Kellar, NAV Canada vice president, operations. "ENGAGE I was a proven success which demonstrated real benefits in cost savings as well as the reduction in GHG emissions."

As part of ENGAGE I, roughly 25 flight trials were executed over the North Atlantic. Through the application of more efficient flight profiles, the average reduction in GHG emissions per flight was nearly 1,300 kilograms, while the fuel savings per flight was close to 500 litres.

Those flight trials tested the viability of two concepts on North Atlantic operations: progressive or continuous altitude change and corresponding changes in aircraft speed (Mach) in place of the more traditional single-speed, single-altitude flight profile over the ocean.

As a flight transits the ocean, fuel is consumed and the weight of the aircraft decreases, resulting in the most efficient flight level becoming higher (assuming zero wind). An efficient flight profile may include a progressive or continuous altitude change and/or change in Mach.

"In ENGAGE II, we plan to significantly increase the number of flight trials using variable altitude and variable speed," Kellar adds. "We have more carriers participating in an expanded oceanic region and we expect to execute over 100 trials--a four-fold increase from phase one of the project."

In addition to the increased flight trials to confirm the viability of the concept over an expanded region, the demonstration flights will permit the collection of data necessary to support the future implementation of the procedures after the trials have concluded.

The first trials began in late Oct. The project will continue until fall 2013.


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