Development of a Simulation Environment to Track Key Metrics to Support Trajectory Energy Management of Electric Aircraft

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Verberne, Johannes
Beedie, Seumas M.
Harris, Caleb
Justin, Cedric Y.
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Growing concerns worldwide about anthropogenic climate change are leading to significant research in ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Technologies are investigated to improve the overall energy efficiency of flying vehicles, and among these, new powertrain technologies less reliant on fossil fuels are especially promising. Concurrently, the expected growth of new market segments, such as urban air mobility and regional air mobility where vehicles are envisioned to operate over densely populated areas, will lead to increased scrutiny regarding the vehicle emissions and the vehicle safety. In this context, significant research has been carried out in the field of electric and hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion. Driven by significant strides made by the automotive industry regarding electric battery technology, the aspirational goal of useful electric flight is now within reach. Significant challenges nonetheless remain regarding the certification of these new vehicles to ensure an equivalent level of safety. Indeed, the behavior of electric powertrains is more complex than that of traditional powertrains and features additional thermal and ageing constraints that need to be contended with. Moreover, the ability of many of these vehicles to fly both on their wing or on their rotors brings another level of sophistication that will increase the workload of flight crews. Combined, these might adversely impact the safety of flight. This research aims to elucidate some of these challenges by providing insights into the behavior and idiosyncracies of new electrified vehicles and by identifying visual cues that should be provided to flight crews to support safe decisionmaking in the cockpit. Besides these visual cues, we explore functionalities that a Trajectory Energy Management system could feature to improve flight safety by providing insights into the management of stored usable energy and by monitoring critical parameters of electrified powertrains. This paper includes two use-cases in which the functionality of the Trajectory Energy Management system is explored for pre-flight planning and in-flight diversion decisionmaking applications.
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