The proposal was prepared in the framework of a research and development roadmap defined by the European rotorcraft community that aims to develop a civil tilt-rotor aircraft. A key target of the road map is a flying demonstrator in the 2010 decade.
NICETRIP specifically addresses the acquisition of new knowledge and technology validation concerning the tilt-rotor.
The main project objectives are:
- to validate the European civil tilt-rotor concept based on the ERICA architecture;
- to validate critical technologies and systems through the development, integration and testing of components of a tilt-rotor aircraft on full-scale dedicated rigs;
- to acquire new knowledge on tilt-rotor through the development and testing of several wind tunnel models, including a large-scale full-span powered model;
- to investigate and evaluate the introduction of tilt-rotors in the European Air Traffic Management System;
- to assess the sustainability of the tilt-rotor product with respect to social and environmental issues and to define the path towards a future tilt-rotor flying demonstrator.
The NICETRIP work plan was designed accordingly in order to address the main objectives separately and to reduce the risks of not achieving them. Progress towards objective achievement will be monitored during the project and objective achievement will be assessed with suitable quantified performance targets that will be defined at the start of each related work package or task.
Project duration is extended to December 2013. The expected NICE-TRIP results are:
- Research in several topics: flight mechanics modelling, aeromechanics modelling, simulation and computation codes improvement, aircraft performance prediction, handling qualities, aero-elasticity and aero-acoustic prediction, stress calculation, materials.
- Teaching and training programmes in aeronautics with enhanced tools.
- Exploitation for research and studies of the powered full-span mock-up and ground testing tilt-rotor parts built in the project.
- Exploitation for research and development of the enhanced testing facilities built in the project.
- Development of improved elements of traditional rotorcrafts (rotor, drive train) for more efficient and competitive products, including new manufacturing processes.
- Development of improved systems for conventional rotorcrafts (flight control, actuation).
- Exploitation of an enhanced expertise in rotorcraft development.
- Pre-certification studies (by rotorcraft manufacturers) and certification work (by airworthiness authorities).
- Integration of tilt-rotors in air traffic management and control (ATM/ATC).