We are currently experiencing an tremendous increase of some 5% per year in world wide air traffic. To cope with this, the future environment of transport aircraft will be defined by new requirements: more stringent noise regulations, fees or limitations on gaseous emissions, new air traffic management, strong increase of aircraft frequency, and increased demand for passenger comfort. The design of a new aircraft has to take these requirements into account by applying new technologies, existing aircraft may be retrofitted with such technologies. Within this project, the application and especially the integration of these technologies on aircraft level will be demonstrated by flight tests on a large flying test bed. To do so, basic work on ground is needed, by wind tunnel tests, rig tests and aircraft ground tests.
The overall target of this Technology Platform project is the integration of advanced technologies into novel fixed wing configurations, aiming at a further significant step in improving aircraft efficiency and reducing farfield impact.
To achieve this target, the following specific industrial objectives have been identified:
- reduce the vortex hazard, by this decrease the separation distance behind a large aircraft by 1 nm;
- apply specific flight procedures using new devices validated in this project, by this reduce noise by 2 EPNdB;
- increase cruise performance (L/D + 2%, Fuel Burn -2%) by new devices and load control strategies;
- increase low speed performance by using new devices and load control strategies, in detail increase L/D by 2.5;
- decrease new aircraft structural weight by applying new load control strategies, in detail reduce weight by 5% using existing devices and by 10% using new devices;
- aerodynamic characteristics, systems and structures will be optimized in a multi-disciplinary approach by controlling lift distribution, wake vortex, and wing loads.
Within three technical work packages of this project, the far field around an aircraft (e.g. vortex hazard reducing services), the near field impact (e.g. large winglets), and flow & load control (e.g. adaptive elements ) will be addressed. In an integrative work package, flight clearance, harmonized ground test and flight test programmes. and the effect of single technologies and their combination on aircraft level will be investigated.
Demonstration by various flight tests on an A340 after having first been simulated using a number of computational methods and validated in wind tunnel and other aircraft ground tests. Fitted with a wide range of new devices, including a considerable arrange of sensors and cameras, the aircraft took off and tested these new technologies for over 3 years.
The AWIATOR program has proven to be a great success, achieving environmental friendly, smoother and safer flights.
- Enlarged winglets: winglets were one of the devices being tested. New, enlarged winglets, with a height of 3.73 meters were mounted onto the A340-300. The winglets were tested to find out more about their behavior, their structural and aerodynamic characteristics and their ability to reduce drag farther more than the original winglets, again cutting down the fuel consumption rate.
- Inner spoilers and landing flaps: By making some openings on the bottom of the spoiler, AWIATOR was trying to optimize the performance of these devices. These openings redirect the air towards the wing, keeping it away form the plane’s tail, making the aircraft easer to fly. It must be said that these changes were made on new, inner spoilers, the idea being that this would increase the aircraft’s drag, allowing a faster, steeper descent.
- The LIDAR turbulence sensor: The turbulence sensor converts the readings it does into images in a screen, which is located in the cockpit. This allows the pilot and copilot to evaluate the magnitude and intenseness of the air gusts ahead of them, and then deciding either to fly around them or through them. If they choose to go right through the turbulent air, the LIDAR turbulence sensor will independently operate any necessary aircraft surface to make the flight as smooth as possible.