Design evaluation and performance assessment of rotorcraft technology by 2050

Thumbnail Image
Stevens, J.
Rademaker, E.
Scullion, C.
Vouros, S.
Nalianda, D.
Pachidis, V.
Oosten, N. van
Misté, G.
Benini, E.
Venturelli, G.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The extended Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) within the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme [Ref. 1] proposes to introduce a number of concept aircraft and rotorcraft to replace reference technology counterparts at different time scales (2020/2035/2050). This Clean Sky 2 (CS2) promotes the importance of those concept configurations and their application in the future. An increasing global demand within and outside the European Union (EU) for an efficient air mobility and transportation system (i.e. more flexible, resilient, effective and affordable), and future projected growth for its application, will lead to the requirement for development of highly optimised transportation solutions. Within CS2, the project DEPART2050 (Design Evaluation and Performance Assessment of Rotorcraft Technology by 2050) aims to undertake the environmental and socio-economic assessments for two fast rotorcraft technologies, being the tilt rotor aircraft and the compound rotorcraft under development by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), the NGCTR and the Racer. Such fast rotorcraft with improved capabilities (higher payload, range and speed) will have an inherent advantage. This will enable the utilisation of smaller airports (as they can operate from shorter runways) and optimally located heliports. The objectives of the project work will be to undertake at airport level and at Air Transport System (ATS) level, assessments of environmental (emissions and noise) and mobility (connectivity and productivity) improvements that may be accrued through replacement of reference helicopter technology over the designated time scales. The assessments will be made for a selected number of mission scenarios: Search and Rescue, Oil and Gas, Emergency Medical Service, Passenger Air Transport and Cargo Transport. To widen the scope of the DEPART2050 project, additional assessments will be performed for two generic fast rotorcraft: a tilt rotor aircraft and a compound rotorcraft. These generic rotorcraft, having been defined by the DEPART2050 project partners, are different from and do not represent the ones under development by the OEMs within CS2 (NGCTR and Racer). Within the DEPART2050 project so far, the rotorcraft configurations have been defined and the models set up. The assessment metrics and missions have been further detailed. Initial assessments have been performed for fuel consumption, exhaust gas emissions, noise impact and mobility impact, showing that the set-up is viable and that results are in line with expectations. Considerable reductions have been found for fast rotorcraft relative to conventional helicopters, both in fuel consumption and CO2 emission per passenger-kilometre, as well as in absolute travel time. But it also has become clear that more work is required to come to actual and final conclusions. The project will run till late 2021 and more results will become available in due time.