Small Air Transport (SAT)
Small Air Transport (SAT) deals with small general aviation and commuter/feeder aircraft and their technology needs: ‘fixed wing’ aircraft with between 4 and 19 seats. SAT aircraft have the agility to take off and land in tiny regional or even remote utility airports, are frugal when it comes to fuel consumption, have fast turnaround times, and can be deployed on routes that would not be geographically or economically viable by rail or road nor by their larger brethren such as regional turboprops or jets. They can help ‘connect the dots’ and serve local communities and locations that would otherwise be isolated or confined to much slower road or rail transport; and in many areas of the world rail is not an option either as the infrastructure simply doesn’t exist.
To meet the Flightpath 2050 target whereby "90% of travellers within Europe are able to complete their journey, door-to-door within 4 hours", SAT aircraft plug a gap that many other travel paradigms struggle to fill. So, for many passengers and for many locales, SAT aircraft fit perfectly and meet a need that would otherwise go unserved.
SAT aircraft are low cost/short range version of corporate aviation, enabling point to point air travel on routes that are not served by the major hubs, using small, quiet, discreet aircraft. The challenge Clean Sky 2 seeks to address is to reboot this somewhat neglected segment of the aeronautical manufacturing world. Europe was once host to a rich spectrum of small aircraft manufacturers, but much of that manufacturing infrastructure and science has evaporated. On the positive side, SAT's technology glass is still half full (in fact among the EU ‘New Member States’ there is strong capability in the SAT segment) - so it's a case of topping up the glass from TRL 3 to a 6.
To date, most key technologies for small aircraft have reached an intermediate level of maturity (TRL3-4). They need further research and experimental demonstration to reach a maturity level of TRL5 or TRL6. The aircraft and systems manufacturers involved in SAT propose to develop, validate and integrate key technologies on dedicated ground demonstrators and flying aircraft demonstrators at an ITD level up to TRL6. The activity will be performed within the Clean Sky 2 ITDs for Airframe, Engines and Systems, with strong co-ordinating and transversally integrating leadership from within a major WP in the Airframe ITD.
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