Regional air transportation systems are under reconsideration in the light of new concepts and technological achievements. The SATS's vision (Small Aircraft Transportation System) in the USA and its European equivalent EPATS (European Personal Aircraft Transportation System) aim to provide a reliable alternative to existing road and airline travel choices. New emerging technologies enable entrepreneurs in the transport industry to create access to more destinations in less transit time. More than 98 percent of the North American population currently lives within a 30-minute drive of at least one of over 5,000 public-use landing facilities. In Europe as well, small landing facilities currently used for secondary activities are being reconsidered as basic infrastructure facilities for general aviation. This process is highly accelerated in Eastern Europe, mainly due to the low quality of road and rail infrastructure combined with the availability of small airfields at low land prices. This infrastructure is an untapped national resource for national mobility all over the world. As a result, for the forthcoming FP7, the EU as well as NASA in the USA, have set the goal of 'reducing public travel times by half in 10 years and two-thirds in 25 years.' Furthermore, this travel alternative must be cost-competitive with existing choices and meet the public expectations for safety and accessibility.
Romanian specific needs for regional mobility, combined with existing opportunities for industrial development in aeronautics are key items to be exploited in complex projects at both national and EU level.
The main objectives of the Aero system project are:
- To deliver a master plan for the development and exploitation of a specific infrastructure for regional air transportation in Romania, using available resources from the local community and central national organisations;
- To initiate a pilot system for regional air transportation based on small aircraft (JAR23/CS-23), using the existing infrastructure from Romanian Aeroclubs. This system will be used both for standard transportation of individuals as well as for fast delivery;
- To identify existing resources at national level to be included in the transportation system, as part of a wider concept for door-to-door transportation using ground transportation (taxi), air transportation (aero-taxi) and small airfields with cheap operating costs in a distributed network with enhanced communication and interoperability systems;
- To enable the development of a next generation of small aircraft JAR23/CS-23, called AeroTAXI, that is under design and technological development at INCAS;
- To raise public awareness on the alternative of a public transportation system based on aero-taxi small a/c with low costs and high mobility, as a pillar for regional development in Romania.
There are three main activities considered in the project, as follows:
- Identification and primary integration of 3 aerodromes from Aeroclub, suitable for a pilot system for air transportation. The airfields will be analysed and a master plan for quick development will be presented in order to promote the infrastructure for national use. The airfields are located in 3 main geographic regions in Romania and will be representative of their potential to enhance regional development.
- Modernisation and certification of a Romanian small aircraft certified JAR23. This pilot aircraft will be instrumented and will fly in order to test, verify and assess technical solutions for a small aircraft transportation system in Romania, with enhanced communication and independence for pilots. The main goal is to enable the implementation of highway-in-the-sky concept using this vector.
- Master plan for a specific management system for a pilot transportation system, including advanced communication systems. Here are considered both on-board and on-ground systems for enhanced navigation and decision support, correlated with regional dynamic planning for taxi-flights.