A need was identified to strengthen European Aeronautical Research by building lasting relationships and inter-dependencies between the major European wind tunnel operators and developers of advanced measuring technologies.
Initial discussions between several European wind tunnel operators regarding the concept of a European Windtunnel Association started in December 2002. Following discussions about the legal, economic and social aspects involved and the lessons learned from previous attempts to integrate European wind tunnels the proposal preparation committee came to the conclusion that the goal to establish a European Windtunnel Association was a realistic objective which could be achieved within a few years using a phased approach.
The goal of the EWA project was to form a Network of Excellence (NOE) for aeronautical applications and related advanced measuring technologies with a management structure and a joint programme of activities. It integrates and strengthens European aeronautical research by building lasting relationships and interdependencies between the major European wind tunnels for aeronautical applications and developers of advanced measuring technologies for aeronautical applications.
Thus, EWA was expected to provide research institutes and the aerospace industry with a comprehensive and harmonised set of better and extended services with full coverage of their possible needs. The network also established close links to leading European universities in the field of aeronautics in order to provide a fast transfer of new ideas. The benefits achieved by the cooperation activities were planned to be disseminated to industrial end users inside and outside of the association by means of exchange of personnel, workshops and presentations of advanced measurement technologies performed in industrial wind tunnels.
The project was organised in four phases (preparation, harmonisation, implementation and presentation of integration) plus an extension phase. The work of EWA comprised integration activities, activities related to advanced wind tunnel testing, spreading of excellence and management activities.
After having prepared a terms of reference document, a task group on legal aspects was formed to consider a number of legal issues. These issues have been identified in connection with the day-to-day implementation of activities within EWA, such as copyrights, publications and personal data protection. The group also dealt with the legal structure for exchanges of personnel between the partners and the non-disclosure statements of individual researchers. Template agreements on the mutual use of equipment and a review of the terms and conditions for contracts on wind tunnel measurements have also been generated. In the second part of the project, the major legal task has been to provide the documents required for the establishment of the trade association.
The activities related to advanced windtunnel testing have focused on the development and technical evaluation of measurement techniques and facilities. The most prominent intent has been to develop and harmonise wind tunnel test techniques and standards in order to facilitate the execution of commercial and/or cooperative test programmes and the exchange of wind tunnel data. For wind tunnel testing new concepts for model manufacture, such as remote controlled models, pressure plotting models and model component balances have been developed. New advanced measurement techniques play an important role to increase the quality of data to be delivered by modern industrial wind tunnels. In this area several activities of internal cooperation on surface measurement, flow field measurement and sound field measurement took place, which have been disseminated to the outside of EWA by demonstration activities. This opened the possibility to establish new contacts and to discuss training methods for future closer cooperation.
A number of benchmarking activities on advanced measurement techniques (PSP, PIV and model deformation measurement techniques) were organised. The results were presented in demonstrations and workshops. The interaction between experimental techniques (wind tunnels) and the increasing capabilities of numerical methods is also of high importance for the future development of wind tunnel testing. Thus, in order to support the coope
As a NOE, EWA has been dedicated to developing closer working relationships and procedures and means for communication and reporting. An inventory of capabilities and the compilation of a willingness matrix have lead to the identification of future needs, market expectations and technology requirements perceived by the EWA partners to satisfy customers' future needs. Standard procedures for exchanging model geometry data and for balance calibration terminology have also been developed. With respect to the future work of the EWA TA, business practices have been assessed in order to identify topics for future harmonisation and integration.
EWA has established an extensive knowledgebase accessible via its website. This site contains comprehensive information about the EWA partnership (address data, professional skills of individual persons etc.). In addition there is extensive technical information about wind tunnels, wind tunnel test sections, balances and measurement techniques accessible by the all EWA partners. Training activities and the short term exchange of personnel have been carried out, primarily between wind tunnel staff and experts on measurement techniques.
The promotion of gender equality within the network, and human relationships among the partners across Europe was also of major concern. Dedicated workshops for wind tunnel staff and project and test engineers have been organised. The role of female engineers within the working conditions of wind tunnels has been discussed and special school-lab courses on fluid mechanics, especially for female students and their teachers, have taken place.
One major outcome of the EWA NOE as a whole, has been to integrate and strengthen European aeronautical research by building lasting relationships and interdependencies between the major European wind tunnel operators and developers of advanced measuring technologies. This partnership, which will continue as EWA Trade Association, will be able to offer to researchers and the global aerospace industry a harmonised and extended set of services. EWA has also enabled researchers to bring new experimental techniques into operation in industrial wind tunnels much faster than in the past, thus giving an important advantage in the competition for the global wind tunnel testing market.