The Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) is a software system that dynamically models aircraft performance in space and time to estimate fuel consumption, emissions, noise, and air quality assessments. Full-flight gate-to-gate analyses are possible for study sizes ranging from a single flight at an airport, to scenarios at the regional, national, and global levels.

A sample contour layer with attributes in AEDT.

AEDT is a comprehensive tool that provides information to FAA stakeholders on each of these specific environmental impacts. AEDT facilitates environmental review activities required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by consolidating the modeling of these environmental impacts in a single tool.

AEDT leverages geographic information system (GIS) and relational database technology to achieve this scalability, and offers rich opportunities for exploring and presenting results. Versions of AEDT are actively used by the U.S. government for domestic aviation system planning as well as domestic and international aviation environmental policy analysis.

The latest modification of AEDT is the AEDT 2c Service Pack 1 (2c SP1). Functionalities include building and editing flight tracks in the user interface, emissions dispersion from curved flight tracks, emissions from airplane and helicopter startup and taxi phases of flight, airplane taxi delay and sequence modeling, noise from helicopter taxi, and emissions from auxiliary power units, ground support equipment, and a wide variety of other non-aircraft emissions sources.

In addition, the software enables modeling of multiple airports in a single study, creation of custom altitude controls for airplanes, time audible noise metrics, fuel consumption and emissions for military aircraft, environmental justice population identification, dynamic grid support for all dB-based noise metrics, and emissions dispersion contouring and output selection — the ability to select specific source groups, averages, and rankings.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2017 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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