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Volpe Training Digs Deep into Aviation Environmental Design Tool

Monday, April 18, 2016

At Volpe, we don’t just build the oven—we show how to make the bread.

In late March, more than two dozen noise, emissions, and aviation experts from government and private industry convened at Volpe for an in-depth training on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT), the premier software for quantifying the environmental effects of flying.

The training focused on AEDT Version 2b, which FAA and Volpe modeling experts developed to replace five legacy air quality and noise analysis tools. Participants left the hands-on training with a distilled awareness of the AEDT user guide, including an overview of AEDT 2b’s capabilities, instructions for creating noise and emissions studies, an understanding of optional features, and access to technical support.

A room full of noise, emissions, and aviation experts turn to listen to a fellow participant in the back of the room.Participants engage in discussion at Volpe’s inaugural AEDT 2b training session held in Cambridge, MA.

AEDT 2b: Flexible, Robust, and Holistic

Aviation researchers use AEDT, in conjunction with other tools, to model the health impacts and cost-effectiveness of potential policies, such as noise and emissions standards. AEDT is also used to model the impacts of policies at the individual airport level, with more than 30,000 airports and the following fleet database:

  • 279 aircraft models
  • 4,600 aircraft combinations
  • 26 helicopter models
  • 77 helicopter combinations
  • 400 non-aircraft emission sources, such as ground support equipment

“AEDT is designed, at its heart, to work across noise and emissions,” said trainer Meghan Ahearn, a Volpe environmental modeler. “AEDT is a complex model because it tries to have breadth. You are creating a more holistic model for aircraft and the environment that, in the end, is more powerful.”

In addition to having built-in data, AEDT draws from external sources to incorporate high-fidelity weather data, terrain information, population data from the U.S. Census, and other geospatial layers.

AEDT 2b’s new capabilities let users analyze the following:

  • Airplane taxi delay and sequencing
  • Custom altitude controls for airplanes
  • Custom flight tracks
  • Emissions dispersion from curved flight tracks
  • Emissions from auxiliary power units, ground support equipment, and other non-aircraft emissions sources
  • Emissions from startup and taxi phases for airplanes and helicopters
  • Multiple airports in a single study
  • Noise, emissions, and emissions dispersion metrics from legacy analysis tools
  • Noise from taxiing helicopters

“AEDT 2b gives users even more power to ask questions and find answers,” said Chris Roof, who leads Volpe’s environmental modeling. “You enter inputs and variables into a wizard and they’re visualized for your airport, or many airports. Say you want to know about carbon dioxide emissions; you choose CO2 and add it to your metrics list. The metric will appear in your results pane, and it’s ready to analyze.”

AEDT is free to federal employees. Non-federal users can purchase an AEDT license.

Stay Tuned for the Next AEDT 2b Training

Volpe will hold another training in late June. An introduction to noise and emissions modeling will be held June 27, and an AEDT 2b training will be held June 28. More information will be available closer to the training dates.

A satellite image of an airport with an infrared map showing the varying degree of noise emitted by aircraft around the airport.