The EU-funded DON Q AIR project worked to enhance the awareness of Polish, Romanian and Turkish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU aeronautics sector. The aim was to increase potential and participation in research and development (R&D) for aeronautics-related EU Framework Programme (FP) activities. Project partners used the DON Q method, developed to open up the field of R&D in adverse environments, to approach their objectives. The project scope included SMEs or clusters of companies with research and technological development (RTD) capabilities and international experience worthy of being fostered for collaboration in European projects. To advance the DON Q method to DON Q AIR methodology, team members produced an analysis report highlighting the situation of the aeronautical sector in the three targeted countries. Special emphasis was placed on both barriers to and potential for developing the technological innovation of chosen SMEs. A direct support information area (DISA) was created for tutoring and supporting the SMEs through mail, telephone and technical visits. The DISA also established an excellence club for, among other efforts, introduction to networks and supporting the customisation of business plans. A total of 21 businesses were subject to technological diagnosis. The aim of this action was to detect and analyse each enterprise's research competences and the potential impact of participating in EU collaborative research. A project website was established to offer relevant project information, aeronautic events and recent FP7 calls for proposals. A contact database also afforded the opportunity to conduct partner searches and disseminate information on project activities. The consortium prepared a 'Best practices guide', presenting the experiences of all partners throughout the duration of the project and offering guidelines for successful participation in FP7 RTD projects. The project realised major successes in efforts to increase awareness of EU activities in the aeronautics sector. As such, DON Q AIR project partners intended to continue encouraging the participation of Polish, Romanian and Turkish SMEs in RTD and cooperative research actions after completion of the project.