The Small Air Transport (SAT) project focuses on the use of small airplanes. It provides an affordable, accessible, energy effective component of the Air Transport System. It fills the niche between Surface and Scheduled Air Transport. This future SAT system will widen the mode choice of transport. It will create access to communities in less travel time, through the use of small aircraft served by small airports.
The goal of the project is to contribute to an improved understanding of the role that small-size aircraft, operating on scheduled or non-scheduled flights, can play as a component of the Air Transport System in order to satisfy the transport needs in regions where transport networks are underdeveloped.
Main issues of the SAT-RDMP project proposal are:
- Definition of a common vision of the small aircraft transport system for inter-regional mobility through the identification of the corresponding requirements. The requirements will identify the technology needs and regulatory issues to be addressed;
- Definition of a business case compliant to the identified requirements which describes the relations among all the system components;
- Assessment of current capabilities versus the ATS demand, collection of previous results and involvement of the stakeholders in Europe (manufacturers, research establishment, EASA, airspace users, infrastructure providers, airport managers, small aircraft service providers);
- Definition of a roadmap to fill the technology gaps, regulatory gaps and/or operative gaps in order to fulfil the requirements, considering current capabilities;
- Identification of dissemination actions and establishment of a network of stakeholders;
- Assessment of risks and benefits of the identified new system concept.
Improving mobility with small planes
Small aircraft can play an important role in the future aviation industry scene in order to cover ever-growing transport needs while promoting quicker, more sustainable and cost-effective air transport. An EU-funded project is investigating new modes of transport based on small aircraft to change the way we travel.
Today, the European small aircraft industry shows considerable innovation potential. Including a wide variety of enterprises, it has a market position of over 30 % in the global general aviation and utility aircraft market (excluding business jets and light-sport aircraft). Nonetheless, the cost of purchasing, maintaining and operating small aircraft hampers further growth in the near future.
However, small air transport (SAT) could be a key enabler of regional development if it is seen as part of a multi-modal European transport system. The 'Small air transport - Roadmap' (http://sat-rdmp.eu/ (SAT-RDMP)) project was launched to respond to the challenge of establishing a new mode of transport to complement the existing air transport system. Specifically, the SAT-RDMP project aimed to enhance the commercial role that small aircraft operating on scheduled or non-scheduled flights can play.
To unlock the SAT potential, the project team defined a roadmap to develop the technologies needed to meet regulatory, safety, environmental, operational and economic requirements. By bringing relevant industries together, it managed to unite the European small aviation community, which proposed a set of research and technological development activities along the roadmap. Finally, the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking accepted the SAT-RDMP proposal and included SAT in the Clean Sky 2 programme.
Without the SAT-RDMP initiative, it would be very unlikely that small aviation industry partners could work as closely with each other as they currently do. The concerted effort of SAT-RDMP partners has been successful in covering transport needs in regions where transport networks are underdeveloped and in spurring further regional development.