Flight trajectory design in the presence of contrails: Application of a multiphase mixed-integer optimal control approach Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2014

start page

  • 172

end page

  • 194


  • 48

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0968-090X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2359


  • In this paper we study the 4D trajectory planning problem in a contrail sensitive environment. We identify the control inputs that steer the aircraft from the initial fix to the final fix following a horizontal route of waypoints while performing step climbs and descents, in order to minimize the overall flying cost of fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, passenger travel time, and persistent contrail formation. The optimal trajectory design problem is formulated as a multiphase mixed integer optimal control problem, which is converted into a mixed integer non-linear program by first making the unknown switching times part of the state, then applying a Hermite-Simpson direct collocation method, and finally introducing binary variables to model the decision making. We solve the mixed-integer nonlinear program using a branch-and-bound algorithm. The numerical results show the effectiveness of the approach.


  • Aeronautics


  • flight 4d trajectory design; persistent contrails; climate impact; mixed-integer optimal control; mixed-integer non-linear program