Archrivals AgustaWestland and Eurocopter will join forces on a major environmental research program that will include integration technology demonstrators (ITDs) for a greener helicopter. The project–part of the larger E1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative–is expected to yield innovations such as smart blades for the main rotor and electric drive for the tail rotor.
Noise and vibrations continue to be the focus of several research projects in Europe. For instance, the pan-European Sefa and ABC projects are targeting external aircraft noise and passenger comfort on airliners and helicopters, respectively. French-funded Dyna is trying to better understand engine aeroelasticity and behavior under impact. Several manufacturers, as well as research institutes, are involved in these programs.
Aircraft towing technology has advanced markedly in the past decade, with towbarless tugs improving efficiency and lessening wear and tear on nosewheels. Now Boeing and Chorus Motors have partnered to demonstrate an exploratory technology that could lead to an even more efficient way of moving airplanes when they are on the ground.
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