Show Time: Demonstrators in the Sky

By Eric Dautriat
Summer 2015

The Clean Sky Joint Undertaking is moving closer to reaching its environmental targets to dramatically slash the air industry's carbon dioxide (CO2), noise and nitrous oxide (NOx) footprints by developing technologies for new engine architectures, improved wing aerodynamics, lighter composite structures, smarter trajectories, and more electric on-board energy.

Since its launch on 9 July 2014 which I reported in these pages one year ago, Clean Sky 2 has not just taken off but climbed even higher. We had a very dense but rewarding period that included a dozen Information Days across Europe, a first set of Grant Agreements for the start of the preliminary phases, the First Call for Core Partners launched, evaluated, ranked, and negotiated, and the First Call for Partners launched. The second call for Core Partners has recently been published and a second call for Partners is planned for July.

Meanwhile, Clean Sky 1 is also more than active. The time of the large demonstrators has come. An overview of the demonstrators ready to be tested this year include the Rolls-Royce ALPS demonstrator, the High Compression Engine (Diesel engine on a light helicopter), the ATR-72 first round, for a composite fuselage panel inflight demonstration, the A340 integration campaign just started in Tarbes to fly the laminar wing, the Open Rotor first tests and a geared turbofan.

Due to the amount and the quality of projects that were successfully completed, we decided to award the three Best Clean Sky Projects of 2015. The Ceremony was held during the Clean Sky Forum which took place on 17 March 2015, in Brussels. The event gathered some 230 participants from industry, research organisations, SMEs and EU institutions mainly. This is very rewarding for the Joint Undertaking in general, for our community, and for those who conducted these projects particular, as the projects showcase the truly innovative research and aeronautics supply chain that we are set up for.

The progress accomplished by the winners, all those shortlisted and more than 600 Clean Sky Members, is an excellent base for Clean Sky 2, which is certain to deliver benefits for European citizens, for the EU economy, for the scientific community, for the Member States, and for the aeronautics sector. I would like to emphasise that Clean Sky 2 will, in the near future, give more room, when feasible, to the partners' creativity, including small and medium sized companies (SMEs).

The programme offers indeed more opportunities for innovative research centres and SMEs. For countries without an established aeronautics industry, Clean Sky 2 will still represent an important opportunity. Increasing numbers of enterprises with a nonaerospace focus are successfully finding their way into the innovation chains via the Calls for Proposals, thus creating new fields of opportunity for the SMEs while also creating new potential supply chains for the established industry players.

From a more technical viewpoint, the programme will introduce further integrated demonstrations and simulations of several aircraft systems at the aircraft platform level. Innovations from Clean Sky 2 will underpin advances in the next generation of aircraft by mastering the technologies and the risks in time to meet the next market window to replace the current fleet. Clean Sky 2 will be a core European programme, leveraged by further activities funded at national, regional and private levels. This will allow us to fully realise the environmental objectives of the aeronautical sector for 2020, which are to demonstrate technologies at the highest possible maturity to reach the 50% CO2 reduction target. Clean Sky 2 will bring these technologies to an even more complex and more representative level of integration at engine and aircraft levels. Beyond this, Clean Sky 2 will pave the way for the next generation of breakthroughs, reaching for a 2035 horizon.


There is room for more bottom-up imaginative proposals and there is also room for synergies. Due to its increased size, and because of the level of maturity reached, Clean Sky 2 has now been requested, through its legal founding European Regulation, to establish synergies with the Structural Funds going to European regions. This means, clearly, funding complementary activities. This should concretise a more optimized use of public funds, reinforce Clean Sky content, and underpin the Smart Specialisation objectives which are now requested from the Regions by the new funding rules.

This new centre of interest is already producing results: Clean Sky signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Midi-Pyrenees regions, President, Martin Malvy in March this year. Others will follow as we already have advanced discussions with regions in Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic and coming soon, UK - several forerunners.

A number of pilot cases, with actual projects, will follow the signing of the agreements, adapting to different regions policies.

Clean sky will demonstrate a selection of these technologies and debate some of our key themes at The International Paris Air Show taking place in Paris in June 2015 and also at Aerodays, in London in October 2015. I welcome you to attend the conferences and to visit our Demonstration Stands at both events to learn more about our exciting plans for the future.