Clean Sky Touts Europe's Eco-aero R&D Progress

Clean Sky, Europe's €1.6 billion eco-aeronautics research program, is at its mid-point and officials are beginning to talk about a follow-on "Clean Sky 2". The joint undertaking is exhibiting at Farnborough (Innovation Zone 15-18), and plans an information day on July 11, where it will discuss progress with Clean Sky and plans for Clean Sky 2

Concept: Clean Sky

Set to run from 2008-2015 under the European Union's Framework 7 (FP7) research effort, Clean Sky is entering a crucial stage, with work beginning on several of the demonstrators planned under the program. These now include an aft body demonstrator, led by Dassault, that will test an innovative tail design that will reduce the airport noise of future business jets (above).

Others include the High Speed Demonstrator Passive, an Airbus A340 modified with two different natural laminar-flow outer wing sections that is scheduled to fly late in the third quarter of 2014. The Low Speed Flight Demonstrator, a modified Dassault Falcon, is planned to demonstrate low-drag smart flaps, beginning with ground tests in 2015. The aft body demonstrator will also be ground-tested in 2015. Flights of both would fall into any Clean Sky 2.

Another big demonstration planned under Clean Sky is the counter-rotating open rotor flight test bed (CROR FTB) - an A340-600 with an open-rotor engine mounted on the aft fuselage. The schedule now calls for the testbed to fly in the second half of 2016 with the SAGE 2 geared open-rotor demonstrator being developed by a Safran-led team under Clean Sky's Sustainable And Green Engines project. The SAGE 1 demonstrator being developed by a Rolls-Royce-led team will now not be flown.

SAGE 2 (Graphic: Clean Sky)

Clean Sky, meanwhile, says the first round of assessments under its Technology Evaluator (TE) project reveal the program is on track to meet its objectives, modelling and simulation showing that the technologies under development for 2020 will reduce fuel burn and CO2 by 30% relative to the year 2000 baseline, across 90- to 130-seat aircraft, while reducing the noise nuisance of business aircraft and helicopters. The TE "flies" concept aircraft incorporating Clean Sky technology through a number of simulation scenarios to measure the improvements relative to aircraft of similar size and role in 2000.

These comparisons of the 2000 and 2020 state of the art are performed for a single flight, or mission; for all flights at an airport over a day; and for the global air transport system over a month.The mission-level simulations covered long-, medium- and short-range airliners, regional and business aircraft as well as four helicopter weight classes. These TE assessments will now be conducted every year to measure Clean Sky's performance against its objectives.

While Clean Sky is an FP7 program, any Clean Sky 2 will be funded under the EU's FP8 program, which will run from 2014 to 2020 and is being called Horizon 2020. And while Clean Sky is aimed at meeting the environmental objectives set for 2020 by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), a follow-on program would focus on technologies needed to meet the EU High Level Group on Aviation Research's Flightpath 2050 objectives.

These will be detailed in a strategic research and innovation agenda to be released soon by ACARE. The first draft of Clean Sky 2 was to be ready by the end of June, with the proposal to be submitted in November and projects to get under way in 2014.

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