A kinematic approach to segmented-trajectory generation for the total loss of thrust emergency

Kivanç A. Avrenli, Barry J. Dempsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Contemporary twin-engine airliners are more vulnerable to total loss of thrust than yesterday's three and four engine airliners, due to reduced engine redundancy. In the event of a total loss of thrust, flight crews have only one chance for landing, because the aircraft cannot gain altitude. Therefore, there is a pressing need to explore the idea of an engines-out landing trajectory optimization for commercial jets. A few past studies addressed this safety issue for general aviation aircraft and fighter jets but not commercial jets, primarily because the essential aircraft-specific aero-dynamic data are not publicly available. To fill in this gap, this study adopts a kinematic approach to aircraft trajectory optimization. Unlike conventional trajectory optimization methods, the kinematic algorithm requires minimal amount of aircraft-specific aerodynamic data that can be effortlessly collected in a full flight simulator. The paper describes the kinematic algorithm and applies it to a realistic bird strike scenario. Flight simulation tests are conducted in a full flight simulator to verify the accuracy of the algorithm. The results demonstrate that the algorithm can compute the optimum trajectory with a less than 3.0 percent error. Since the algorithm is accurate and computationally-undemanding, it is promising for real-world applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-149
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015


  • aircraft
  • commercial
  • dual-engine failure
  • engines-out
  • glide
  • jetliner
  • performance
  • power-off
  • powerless
  • simulation
  • total loss of power
  • trajectory optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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