Posted on: 08 July 2015 by Mark Howells
The “green” ATR 72 prototype for the “Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (CS JTI)” test campaign has made its first flight from Toulouse.
In the flying demonstrator, an entire aluminium section of the upper fuselage has been replaced with an innovative composite panel. In this panel a layer to provide additional acoustic damping is embedded, as well as two different technologies for structural health monitoring (SHM).
The flight tests aim to prove carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) material feasibility and its benefits by insertion on future regional aircraft products. This first flight test targets ambitious environmental goals with expected benefits on weight, internal noise, assembly costs and structural health monitoring capability. The initial flight test programme is expected to last six flights.
The Clean Sky programme is designed to achieve major steps towards the ACARE Environmental Goals for 2020. Compared with 2000 levels, these goals require a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions, an 80% cut in NOx emissions and a halving of noise pollution. The project is financed 50/50 by the aeronautical industry and by the European Union.
Towards the end of the year, a second flight test campaign will be checking out improvements to the electrical distribution, energy dispersal and the air conditioning systems. The improvements being jointly developed and tested on the ATR will eventually benefit all regional aircraft.
Carmine Orsi, ATR's senior vice-president engineering was delighted by this first flight. “The ATR already enjoys a worldwide reputation for low gas emissions due to its low fuel consumption and structural efficiency with large use of composite material on primary structures. Today, we are going further by using one of our aircraft to test the fruit of several years of joint work with the researchers, which should enable us to be even greener in the future.
“As aircraft manufacturers, we have a real responsibility to develop increasingly green technologies, in particular given that in the coming years, more and more aircraft will be taking to the skies,” Orsi concluded.