Clean Sky, the European Union’s ?1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) aeronautical research program, is aiming to have several demonstrators running on the ground or flying in 2014-2015. At the first Clean Sky conference, held June 18 in Brussels, project leaders said that after a slow start in 2008-2009 the joint technology initiative (JTI) is gathering speed.
The FAA awarded five contracts worth a total of $125 million over five years to engine manufacturers and Boeing to “develop and demonstrate technologies that will reduce commercial jet fuel consumption, emissions and noise.” The research is intended to accelerate introduction of green technology in the FAA’s Next Generation air traffic modernization program as part of the agency’s continuous lower energy, emissions and noise (Cleen) program.
GE Aviation received an award from the FAA as part of the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (Cleen) program–a joint government-industry initiative to accelerate the development and maturation of aircraft and engine technologies that cut noise, emissions and fuel burn. Under the program, GE and the FAA will share an investment of up to $66 million over a five-year period.
Recessions come and go, but the quest to develop ever more efficient engines for the next generation of single-aisle aircraft continues. Given the time it takes to develop new powerplant technologies, which can be measured in decades, engine manufacturers have to be more confident than most of eventual recovery in the airline industry if the millions spent on research and development are not to be wasted.
GE Aviation and NASA are to ground test five sets of new subscale blades for open-rotor engines at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The tests will focus on acoustics and efficiency of a two-stage counter-rotating fan. The two partners have high expectations that new analysis tools will add to their understanding of the fan’s aerodynamics.
Rolls-Royce’s development of an open-rotor engine for the next generation of midsize airliners has taken a giant leap forward after wind-tunnel tests revealed its design would comfortably meet current Stage 4 noise regulations.
It seems unlikely that new engine architectures such as the geared turbofan or the open rotor will make it to business aviation in the near or even mid term. According to engine manufacturers, these concepts are not suited to the needs of business aircraft, which require a lot of thrust during almost the entire flight.
Don’t let airlines tell you how to design airplanes, EasyJet strategic planning manager Hal Calamvokis cautioned aerospace industry delegates at last week’s NACRE conference.
A major research program launched three years ago by the European Union has identified open rotors and natural laminar flow as key technologies to be taken forward in the Clean Sky joint technology initiative and potentially into the mooted replacement for the Airbus A320.
CFM International partners General Electric and Snecma have extended their successful 34-year partnership until 2040 and revealed plans to develop an all-new engine, provisionally called the Leap-X. The engine will provide 16 percent more fuel efficiency than today’s CFM56; however, it will not be offered for retrofit to existing aircraft.