On 10 February 2012, the Airbus A320 test aircraft flew from Toulouse to Stockholm using for the first time an I-4D flight profile.
With the world's first four dimensional flight (I-4D), SESAR members Airbus, Eurocontrol, Honeywell, Indra, NORACON and Thales marked an important step towards SESAR's goal of more efficient, environmental friendly and predictable flights.
The 4D trajectory concept introduces time to the classical three dimensional trajectory. The trial successfully verified the automated 4D data exchange between aircraft Flight Management System (FMS) and ground automation systems through data link. It also aimed to validate how information is displayed to the controller and the pilot as well as the impact on their operations.
I-4D is a cornerstone of the SESAR programme as it is the first step towards more predictable flights. The 4D trajectory concept requires that airspace users are able to agree the detailed 4D Business/Mission trajectory directly with the service providers involved in facilitating the flight in the specific airspaces concerned.
Greater certainty about the positions of every airspace user in the sky at any given moment will improve safety as well as flight predictability. The more efficient resource planning which this allows will in turn enable a greater carrying capacity for both airports and the European sky in general. Through the better planning of flight trajectories, environmentally friendly flight profiles can be applied.
"With this first I-4D trial flight under operational conditions, the SESAR members have proven that by working together in the framework of the SESAR programme real changes in the ATM domain are being brought about. Not only the aviation industry will benefit from optimised flights but society as a whole", says Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking.
Interview with Philippe Pellerin, test pilot