The GABRIEL project intends to develop a revolutionary new method to assist the aircraft take-off and landing with the use of magnetic levitation technology. In addition, it aims to validate key elements of the concepts through experimental tests.
Magnetic levitation is studied by many scientists, institutions and it has been already used in different applications, such as rail transportation. As a result of these developments, some high speed trains can reach speeds up to about 550 - 600 km/h.
The idea behind GABRIEL is to adapt the magnetic levitation technology (developed for rail transportation) to air transportation, and more particularly to the ground-based application for take-offs and landings.
There are several scientific problems to be defined, investigated and solved:
- select the right magnetic levitation technology (e.g. electromagnetic (EMS) or electrodynamic (EDS) suspension, the potential in the use of rail tracks, or rather sleds to carry the aircraft and the launch system);
- improve the control systems to enable the aircraft to land on the ground-based decelerator system that uses the magnetic levitation technology (landing must be accomplished with high accuracy and adaptivity);
- perform a weight prediction of the aircraft and its components (because of the radical changes in the loads applied to the aircraft structure during take-off and landing, traditional weight prediction formulas and methods must be modified);
- develop the methods to determine the required aircraft thrust, and predict the fuel consumption, engine life (due to the reduction of operating time at the maximum thrust level);
- develop a method to assess the fuel reduction and the environmental impact on the airport vicinity once the GABRIEL concept is used;
- develop a method to evaluate the sustainability of the GABRIEL system;
- develop an operational concept for the airports (how to connect a maglev runway via the taxiway structure to the passenger terminals with at least the same efficiency as traditional concepts);
- develop a method to evaluate the effects of GABRIEL on the airport capacity.
The GABRIEL concept is a new application of the magnetic levitation technology. The project faces scientific problems as well as engineering and technology issues. Most of these engineering and technology development problems can be solved in future at a detailed level. However, it is important to carry out a study at the conceptual / preliminary level to define the overall system.
During the proposal development, the following technological objectives were identified:
- propose the best airport organisation to enable the use of the GABRIEL ground based system (including the rail tracks, the launch part, the terminal connections and the supply chain);
- design an optimal aircraft configuration to enable the use of the GABRIEL concept (special developments must be carried out regarding the structural analysis of the fuselage and its lower side);
- define a series of safe launch and landing procedures (aircraft flight operation);
These objectives must be met considering the following constraints:
- minimization of the required energy (of the complete system) for take-off and landing;
- minimization of the environmental impact.