We are now entering the final stage of the Clean Sky2 program: the testing phase! Two ground demonstrators and one flying experimental aircraft will test in a real environment the Small Air Transport-related technologies developed within the Program. The first two demos will verify the overall More Electric Aircraft architecture and the composite wing with Structural Health Monitoring, while the flying demonstrator will assess avionic solutions paving single pilot operations as well as improved seat-comfort and the thermo-acoustic insulation.

An overview of the status of these activities has been provided during the Interim Progress Review meeting, one of the major 2021 milestones of the Small Air Transport Transverse Activity, where both experts and project officers provided positive outcomes. The Small Air Transport Project –led by Piaggio Aerospace as Coordinator –  is a transverse platform of Clean Sky2, one of the largest European aeronautical research program developing innovative technologies to reduce CO2, NOX and noise emissions.

Scheme of the three SAT demonstrators under development to test selected Clean Sky 2 technologies

The Interim Progress Review meeting (IPR) of the Clean Sky 2 Small Air Transport Transverse Activity (CS2 SAT TA) has taken place remotely (via WebEx) on November 10th 2021, with the participation of three Independent Experts, JU POs (Joint Undertaking Project Officers), and all Representatives of the Partners involved in the Project.

The meeting was intended to provide the experts and JU POs an overview of CS2 SAT TA project, including an overview of the two gound demonstrators and the flight demonstrator under development to test in real environment the SAT-related technologies developed within Clean Sky 2 Program.

During the event, a summary of the activities carried out in the first three quarters of 2021 (January-September 2021) and an outlook on the main events until project closure (December 2023) has been provided, together with an assessment of main risks that could affect Project execution. Feedback to the Reviewers’ recommendations risen after 2021 ARM (Annual Review Meeting) has been provided. Further topics have dealt with useful information concerning COVID-19 impact assessment update, evaluation of the dissemination, communication and exploitation plans and achievements, and the evolution of CS2DP (Clean Sky 2 Development Plan).

Main focus was on:

  • Fly-by-wire rig assembly for first phase test campaign (fbw rudder), to simulate aircraft manoeuvrability in single engine conditions.
  • Completion of Electrical Power Generation and Distribution System (EPGDS) rig demo, capable to test all operative conditions of the aircraft, by simulating all the different electric loads.
  • Finalization of composite wing-box rig design to start manufacturing of components for final test on full scale demo.
  • First flight test campaign execution for avionics functionalities paving the way for single pilot operations for aircraft with more than 9 passengers: Tactical Separation System (TSS), Advanced Weather Awareness System (AWAS), Flight Reconfiguration System (FRS), and Compact Computing Platform (CCP).

Both Experts and POs provided positive outcomes: despite both technical issues and COVID-19 outbreak caused some delays no funding issue is detected, delays are not critical and planned activities have been finalized. Since the Project is in a crucial phase towards final demonstrations, maximum attention shall be paid in 2022 to assure SAT activities proceed on track to complete final demonstrations as planned.