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Airbus operates first I4-D flight

By control on February 10, 2012

Airbus has successfully completed the world’s first test flight utilizing I4-D air traffic management technology. This technology results in lower carbon emissions and shorter, smoother flights, goals that are in line with the Single European Sky ATM Research initiative.

The test flight was conducted on an A320 aircraft that was flown from Toulouse, France, to Stockholm before routing through Copenhagen.

“This flight test offers a concrete solution toward improving the existing European [air traffic] system, which is reaching its capacity limit,” according to the press release. Airbus called the test flight a “world premier in the ongoing transformation of today’s air traffic management system.”

With I-4D, information regarding the plane’s trajectory is predicted and transmitted after coordination with the ground systems. The new system eventually "will allow aircraft to plan and fly an optimized and efficient profile without any need for [air traffic] controllers to provide vectoring instruction,” according to the press release.

Personnel involved with the project have backed the I-4D technology, which reduces the number of planes flying in a holding pattern. Such technology will also enable air traffic controllers to better predict traffic flows, advocates stated.

I-4D is slated to undergo additional flight tests in 2012 and 2013, according to the press release. By 2018, it’s expected to be installed at the first European airports.

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