Airbus has signed agreements with airline customers Frenchbee and SAS Scandinavian Airlines and three Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) to demonstrate the operational feasibility of Airbus’ demonstrator project, fello’fly, for reducing aviation emissions.
The three ANSP providers are France’s DSNA (Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne), the UK’s NATS and EUROCONTROL
Inspired by biomimicry, fello’fly is based on Wake Energy Retrieval (WER) to reduce aviation emissions. WER replicates the behaviour of birds, which fly together to reduce their energy consumption. The technique of a follower aircraft retrieving energy lost by a leader, by flying in the smooth updraft of air the wake creates, reduces fuel consumption in the range of 5-10 per cent per trip.
Flight planning, air navigation and technical solution brought together
Frenchbee and SAS will provide airline expertise in flight planning and operations for the collaborative requirements necessary for bringing together aircraft before and during a fello’fly operation. DSNA, NATS and EUROCONTROL will contribute air navigation expertise defining how two aircraft can be brought safely together, minimising impact on today’s procedures. In parallel Airbus will continue working on the technical solution to assist pilots in ensuring that aircraft remain safely positioned.
Under the agreements, Airbus, Frenchbee, SAS, DSNA, NATS and EUROCONTROL will develop a safe and realistic concept of operations (CONOPS) necessary to shape future operational regulations for fello’flights. Flight testing will take place throughout 2020 using two Airbus A350 aircraft, with the involvement of the airlines and ANSPs as early as 2021 in an oceanic airspace.
Given the high potential to make a significant impact on emissions reduction for the aviation industry as a whole, directly contributing to the sector’s sustainable growth goals, Airbus is targeting a controlled Entry-Into-Service (EIS), which is expected by the middle of this decade.
fello’fly is part of Airbus UpNext, an Airbus subsidiary created to give future technologies a development fast track by building demonstrators at speed and scale.