EU Expands Clean Skies Effort


As countries across Europe take climate change and pollution seriously, 16 countries in Europe have signed on to a project called Horizon 2020 which will make significant investments in making aviation and aerospace industries greener.

For several years, the European Union’s Clean Sky project has sponsored aviation research projects to fund environmentally friendly aviation technology and now, with €4 billion in additional funding ($4.8 billion), Horizon 2020 will focus on airframe and wing designs and engine technologies aimed at reducing CO2, NOx and noise by 20 to 30 percent by 2024, but as much as 75, 90 and 60 percent, respectively, by 2050.

The undertaking is funded in nearly equal parts by the European Commission and the European aeronautics industry (Airbus, Airbus Helicopters, Fraunhofer, Saab, Liebhrerr, Rolls-Royce and others) and delivers technology demonstrators in all segments of civil air transport, grouped into areas called integrated technology demonstrators (ITD).Examples of successful demonstrators born under the program include Airbus Helicopters’ “Racer,” code for Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft. It optimizes the design of certain shapes on the fuselage of an H135 helicopter and successfully showed improvements in drag reduction. Entering critical design review this year, a prototype is planned for flight in 2020.