The future air transport system will be confronted with new challenges: it must be sustainable, safer, greener, more secure and time / cost effective (Flightpath 2050, EU White paper on transport, IATA Technology Roadmap). All these have influences on the aircraft take-off and landing (TOL) processes. To improve it, there are several methods and techniques. However, most of them implement only marginal modifications, and thus lead to marginal gains. Therefore, to meet the challenging targets of air transportation, radically new and innovative technologies, methods and structural solutions are required.
One of the innovative idea that came out of the Out-of-the-Box Project, is to use ground-based power to launch and recover and aircraft. It is seen as one of the most promising potential technology, as it cuts the required engine take-off thrust and reduces the aircraft empty weight, which will considerably lower the noise as well as the emitted chemical emissions. Airbus gave some thoughts recently, but it restricts itself to ground assisted take-off of conventional aircraft.
From the various technologies to perform ground-based TOL GABRIEL is based on magnetic levitation, as preliminary investigations showed that this could bring of the best benefits for the present and future air transportation.
If take-off and landing on a maglev pad would prove to be feasible, safe and economical, this unique and radically new solution could reduce aircraft fuel consumption, since aircraft weight can be reduced as no undercarriage will be needed, less fuel needs to be carried on board and engines can be smaller as less thrust is required. Using ground power will also reduce the environmental impact with lower noise and emitted emissons. In addition, airport capacity can be increased by introducing multiple launch and recovery ramps thus alleviating the problem of limited runway capacity in Europe. Such idea of flying without a landing gear and use ground-based power to assist the aircraft take-off and landing processes is now also a part of the IATA’s technology roadmap.
GABRIEL investigates if magnetic levitation assisted take-off and landing is feasible, safe and cost effective.
The project also studies the feasibility of launch and recovery in connection to operating limits and aircraft flight controls. Operational, safety, and cost-benefit related issues are studied extensively. A small scale test is designed to validate, assess the feasibility and estimate the limits of the assisted take-off and landing concept. The potential problems at emergency landings will be addressed, especially landing at airports not being equipped with the envisioned magnetic levitation systems/rails.
GABRIEL is a typical “out of the box” project that involved 12 partners from 7 European countries. The project lasted for 36 months
Following a successful final meeting, the Gabriel project closed on the 31st of August 2014. The main results of the project are shown below. Please contact us for details.
- Concept was validated on a maglev track, results were quantified
- GABRIEL provides outstanding benefits (savings):
|Area of benefit||Values|
|Weight||9.3% saving for take-off weight, 18.1% for total fuel weight|
|Fuel consumption||79.6% reduction for take-off, 8.2% for the en-route, 60% for the LTO|
|Emissions at the airport region||decreasing by 58% CO2, 60% NOX for LTO|
|Noise at the airport region in terms of area affected||reduction by 64% for take-off, 19.7% for landing|
|Sustainability||increasing by 8.75%|
|Cost-benefit- total cost savings per cycle||total cost savings per cycle 1.579,26 €|
The concept needs further analysis on the following items:
- rendezvous control system, emergency landings,
- airport flexibility aspects (stand-alone or combined operations, benefits),
- suitability for different kind of aircraft
- cart-sledge system and the connection mechanisms,
- certification issues
The consortium has created an animation for better understanding of the concept: