Assessing the climate impact of formation flights

K. Dahlmann, Sigrun Matthes, H. Yamashita, S. Unterstrasser, V. Grewe, Tobias Marks

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific

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An operational measure to aim for mitigation of aviation climate impact that is inspired by migrant birds is to fly in aerodynamic formation. This operational measure adapted to human aircraft would eventually save fuel and is, therefore, expected to reduce the climate impact of aviation. As this method changes beside the total emission also the location of emission it is necessary to assess its climate impact with a climate response model to assure a benefit for climate. Therefore, the climate response model AirClim was adopted to account for saturation effects occurring for formation flight. The results for case studies comprising typical air traffic scenario show that on average the fuel consumption can be decreased by 5%, the climate impact, however, can be reduced by up to 24%.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event3rd ECATS conference: Making aviation environmentally sustainable - Virtual/online event due to COVID-19
Duration: 13 Oct 202015 Oct 2020
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd ECATS conference
Abbreviated titleECATS 2020
Internet address


  • climate impact
  • formation flight
  • mitigation potential
  • aircraft wake-surfing for efficiency


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