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Methodologies and applications of emission measurements on rotorcraft

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€577 000
EU Contribution
€288 500
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS

The air transport industry is paying a lot of attention to growing public concern on the environmental issues of air pollution. Clean Sky is a Joint Technology Initiative that will develop breakthrough technologies to reduce environmental impact. In order to reduce environmental impact from rotorcraft, the Green Rotorcraft integrated technology demonstrator will develop environment-friendly flight paths: they are procedures and mission profiles designed to reduce fuel consumption and NOx emissions.


To this aim it is necessary to create a database containing flue emissions by rotorcraft during flight and in different weather conditions. This database will be used in order to design green mission profiles; to create a complete database, generic rotorcraft will be mathematically modelled to calculate flue gas emissions, by means of state of art numerical codes. Results from numerical codes always need to be validated by extensive test campaign.


In this proposal Centro Combustione Ambiente (CCA) proposes as a partner for flue gas emission measurement. In order to perform accurate measurement activity in a not standardized field, CCA will use its broad experience in flue gas measurements from stationary gas turbines. Due to the lack of standard procedures to perform measurements on rotorcraft, CCA will define the most appropriate methodology and the best practices for the measurements of emissions from aeronautical engines. The equipment defined in the methodology will be suitable to operate properly in flight tests. The guidelines from methodology will drive during a test campaign to perform accurate measurements of CO, CO2, NOx, SO2 and soot concentration during flight tests. Using data gathered during flight tests, CCA experts will contribute to edit a report with data related to the environmental flight conditions to be used in the optimisation process of flight paths. The final goal is to participate to reduce environmental impact from one of the human activities.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme


Analysing helicopter flue gas

The EU is dedicated to reducing emissions associated with air transport. The objective applies equally to rotorcraft as to aeroplanes, so first-time measurements and models of helicopter flue gas emissions are of fundamental importance to the efforts.


Commercial rotorcraft use is likely to increase significantly in the coming years. Rotorcraft will act as shuttles between heliports and airports, between cities without airports, or even connecting islands with limited infrastructure to the mainland. In order to make helicopter transport greener, the EU would like to identify and develop eco-friendly flight paths. These paths should reduce fuel consumption — directly related to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — and nitric oxide family (NOx) emissions.


To identify the appropriate paths, scientists must first get a good handle on what exactly the flue emissions of a rotorcraft are during flight and under different conditions. With EU support of the project 'Methodologies and applications of emission measurements on rotorcraft' (MAEM-RO), they created a database of flue emissions produced by numerical models of a generic rotorcraft engine developed within the project. The results of the numerical codes were validated against extensive experimental results from flue gas emissions measurements on an Agusta Westland Pzl SW4 helicopter during several missions.


As the area of research is completely new, there is no existing standardisation in terms of best practices or data analysis techniques. Scientists used their extensive experience in flue gas measurements from stationary gas turbines to define the most appropriate measures and best practices related to measurements from aircraft engines.


Based on the guidelines, researchers obtained accurate measurements of carbon monoxide, CO2, NOx, total organic carbon and sulphur dioxide during flight tests. With this knowledge, they were able to contribute to a report outlining the optimisation of flight paths for reduced environmental impact.


MAEM-RO covered new territory in developing the flue gas measurement methodology and the way to integrate it into the unconventional helicopter setting to analyse pollutants in helicopter exhaust gases during flight. Air transport emits pollutants directly into the atmosphere rather than on the ground like power plants. This is sort of analogous to injecting a drug rather than taking it orally for potency and rapid activity. The methodologies should thus be a powerful tool within the aerospace community for determining the impact of flight on the atmosphere.


Lead Organisation
Centro Combustione Ambiente Srl
Vicinale Milano Km 1.600, 70023 Gioia Del Colle, Italy
EU Contribution
€288 500
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Technology Theme
Safety systems
Safety and certification testing
Development phase

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