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Weather hazards for aeronautics

Final Report Summary - WEZARD (Weather hazards for aeronautics)

Executive Summary:

Over a seven-day period in April 2010, air travel in most of northern Europe suddenly and unexpectedly came to a halt. A cloud of volcanic ash accompanying the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano grounded over 100 000 flights, stranded 10 million passengers and cost industry over USD 5 billion.
The EU-funded project 'WEather haZARDs for aeronautics' (WEZARD) is developing a research and development (R&D) roadmap leading to reliable air transport in the face of natural atmospheric hazards. The focus is on icing and volcanic ash.
Launched in July 2011, WEZARD consortium consists of air frame and engine manufacturers, meteorological offices, research centres, a systems supplier, a test facilities provider and a civil aviation authority. Together, they established an advisory board of expert representatives. These were selected from international organisations (e.g. the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)), working groups, research projects and aircraft operators.
In May 2012, WEZARD organized a first workshop to present preliminary R&D roadmap and to assimilate advisory board opinions and recommendations on specific topics, including observation and prediction, on-board systems and research instrumentation and test and numerical capabilities development. The preliminary WEZARD roadmap spawned three proposals for Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) funding with active participation by the WEZARD consortium.
Identification of the need to anticipate regulatory changes and develop effective means of compliance led to submission of the proposal for the 'High Altitude Ice Crystals' (HAIC) project. This was successfully funded and is investigating mixed phase and glaciating conditions, in particular as related to heated probes and engines. WEZARD identified an additional topic on this subject related to supercooled large droplet (SLD). This initiative should lead to the submission of the proposal for the ‘EXTreme ICing Environment II’ (EXTICE II) project in the framework of HORIZON2020. The complexity, costs, and skills required to address current SLD research requires international partnerships and coordination of resources. The FAA stated “We have a unique opportunity with EU and North American funding and skills/expertise/facilities to address major gaps in SLD engineering tools and methods development over the next few years by working together”
WEZARD identified an additional three high priority topics. These consist of developing an integrated observation system to monitor distal volcanic ash clouds and an onboard volcanic ash detection and avoidance system. In addition, enhanced knowledge and tools for accretion and shedding are deemed critical for maintaining robust air transport under icing conditions. Two more proposals have been submitted to address these issues. The proposal for the ‘’efficient ice protection Systems and simulation Techniques Of ice Release on propulsive systems’ (STORM) project was successfully funded and is investigating the development and validation of advanced simulation methodologies and ice protection concepts for aero propulsive systems. The remaining proposals for the ‘Volcanic Ash Detection & Awareness System’ (VADAS) project and the ‘EUropean Volcanic ash Observing NETwork’ (EUVONET) project will be submitted in the framework of HORIZON2020.
In June 2013, WEZARD organized a second workshop to present the final R&D roadmap and capture final recommendations from the advisory board. Eight workshop sessions were organized to present the main findings of the project. Another workshop on supercooled large droplet was also organized to prepare the EXTICE II project proposal and strengthen exchange with North America.
WEZARD outcomes could serve as a foundation for a consistent multi-year research plan addressing relevant priorities and gaps. As such, WEZARD aims to contribute to the next generation of icing and volcanic ash air transport protection systems through focused input to and guidance of related research projects.

Project Context and Objectives:

On April 14th, 2010, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland and the accompanying cloud of volcanic ash forced most countries in northern Europe to shut their airspace between 15 and 20 April 2010, grounded more than 100,000 flights and affected an estimated 10 million travellers. This event revealed to what extent our society and economy rely on the availability of a safe and efficient air transport system and how fragile it still remains when faced with the complexity of atmospheric conditions.
Natural hazards that can severely impact the air transport system are not restricted to the results of volcanic eruptions as they also include other natural hazards involving particles such as icing (Supercooled large droplet, mixed phase and glaciated icing conditions).
The WEZARD project (CSA-SA WEather haZARDs for aeronautics, FP7, 4th call) aims to support and contribute to the preparation of future community research in the field of air transport system robustness when it is faced with weather hazards with particular focus on volcanic ash and icing (Supercooled Large Droplet, mixed phase and glaciated icing conditions).

The detailed objectives of WEZARD are to:

• Set-up an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral network (comprising expertise from observation and measurement, the aeronautics industry, aircraft operators, network managers, risk management specialists, scientists, etc.);
• Compile a list of the main weather hazards such as hazards which can be spread over very large areas (e.g. volcanic ash clouds) or severe atmospheric conditions (e.g. icing: SLD, mixed phase or glaciated ice conditions);
• Compile the technical consequences of these hazards on the aircraft (failures, damages, etc.);
• Compile an inventory of recent and ongoing R&D activities within relevant areas, and financed through different programmes at EU (FP5/6/7, environment, space/GMES, aeronautics, etc.) as well as at national level, and within relevant institutions;
• Compare, analyze and validate the results of relevant projects and activities in a structured peer review process, and to propose the most mature and relevant new developments for concepts and methodologies, data sources and models, etc. for take-up in risk detection, assessment and risk management. In particular, WEZARD will propose and promote technological solutions for realistic on board integration in term of weight, cost, availability, performance, etc.;
• Develop on this basis a coherent approach to the validation of the relevant input data, models, etc., targeted for the specific purpose of risk management in air transport;
• Provide a R&D roadmap on further R&D and validation activities including priorities, impact analysis and consequence on decision making.
The work will in particular cover hazards which can be spread over very large areas such as volcanic ash clouds or severe atmospheric conditions such as icing (Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD), mixed phase or glaciated ice conditions).
Finally, WEZARD will contribute to the definition of the next Aeronautic and Air Transport Work Programme by identifying and proposing activities and topics to be investigated by relevant Level 1 and/or Level 2 projects in the FP7 5th and 6th Call for proposals. Such a multi-year plan will ensure the sustainability of the WEZARD network at mid and long term and then will contribute to secure and re-enforce the European expertise on atmospheric hazards.

Project Results:

Details provided in the attached document

Potential Impact:

The WEZARD R&D roadmap will provide a harmonized and coherent set of recommendations which will meet the requirements of different actors concerned by atmospheric hazards with a special focus on icing and volcanic ash:
• The European Commission will have a clear view of areas for future research,
• The Authorities such as ICAO, EASA and FAA will be aware of existing solutions and future research orientations to assist them in the establishment of contingency plan and safety standard and regulations,
• The Meteorological organisations will have clear orientations on the improvement of forecasting, new technologies to be deployed for observations and a rationale to data standardisation,
• Enabler organisations such as the VAAC and ATM’s will be made aware of existing and future orientations. They will also have a clear view of the feasibility of promising technologies and existing and future means for decision making. This will be done in accordance with SESAR and NextGen requirements and will be fed directly into these projects,
• Manufacturers and research organisations will have clear definitions of the requirements for new technological needs,
• Airline operators will be aware of future technological orientations, training needs, new operational procedures and functions which are envisaged.
Lastly, the general public and scientific community will be made aware through the defined dissemination actions.
The outcomes of the project could be used by the European Commission to set-up a consistent multi-year plan addressing the priorities and gaps, which will have been highlighted as part of the project.

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