Journal article Open Access

Affordable and Environmental Friendly Small Commuter Aircraft Improving European Mobility

Diego Giuseppe Romano; Gianvito Apuleo; Jiri Duda

Mobility is one of the most important societal needs
for amusement, business activities and health. Thus, transport needs
are continuously increasing, with the consequent traffic congestion
and pollution increase. Aeronautic effort aims at smarter
infrastructures use and in introducing greener concepts. A possible
solution to address the abovementioned topics is the development of
Small Air Transport (SAT) system, able to guarantee operability from
today underused airfields in an affordable and green way, helping
meanwhile travel time reduction, too. In the framework of
Horizon2020, EU (European Union) has funded the Clean Sky 2 SAT
TA (Transverse Activity) initiative to address market innovations
able to reduce SAT operational cost and environmental impact,
ensuring good levels of operational safety. Nowadays, most of the
key technologies to improve passenger comfort and to reduce
community noise, DOC (Direct Operating Costs) and pilot workload
for SAT have reached an intermediate level of maturity TRL
(Technology Readiness Level) 3/4. Thus, the key technologies must
be developed, validated and integrated on dedicated ground and
flying aircraft demonstrators to reach higher TRL levels (5/6).
Particularly, SAT TA focuses on the integration at aircraft level of
the following technologies [1]: 1) Low-cost composite wing box and
engine nacelle using OoA (Out of Autoclave) technology, LRI
(Liquid Resin Infusion) and advance automation process. 2)
Innovative high lift devices, allowing aircraft operations from short
airfields (< 800 m). 3) Affordable small aircraft manufacturing of
metallic fuselage using FSW (Friction Stir Welding) and LMD (Laser
Metal Deposition). 4) Affordable fly-by-wire architecture for small
aircraft (CS23 certification rules). 5) More electric systems replacing
pneumatic and hydraulic systems (high voltage EPGDS -Electrical
Power Generation and Distribution System-, hybrid de-ice system,
landing gear and brakes). 6) Advanced avionics for small aircraft,
reducing pilot workload. 7) Advanced cabin comfort with new
interiors materials and more comfortable seats. 8) New generation of
turboprop engine with reduced fuel consumption, emissions, noise
and maintenance costs for 19 seats aircraft. (9) Alternative diesel
engine for 9 seats commuter aircraft. To address abovementioned
market innovations, two different platforms have been designed:
Reference and Green aircraft. Reference aircraft is a virtual aircraft
designed considering 2014 technologies with an existing engine
assuring requested take-off power; Green aircraft is designed
integrating the technologies addressed in Clean Sky 2. Preliminary
integration of the proposed technologies shows an encouraging
reduction of emissions and operational costs of small: about 20%
CO2 reduction, about 24% NOx reduction, about 10 db (A) noise
reduction at measurement point and about 25% DOC reduction.
Detailed description of the performed studies, analyses and validations for each technology as well as the expected benefit at
aircraft level are reported in the present paper.

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