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Periodic Reporting for period 3 - GAM-2020-REG (REGIONAL AIRCRAFT 2020-2023)

Reporting period: 2022-01-01 to 2022-12-31

The REG objective is to bring the integration of technologies for Regional Aircraft to a further level of complexity with respect to the achievements of CS GRA. Retaining GRA outcomes, advanced technologies for regional aircraft are being further developed and will be integrated and validated at aircraft level to drastically de-risk their integration on future regional aircraft products:
•LDO Conventional Turboprop Aircraft Configuration
•LDO Innovative Aircraft Configuration
•Airbus D&S Multimission Aircraft.
Main high-level objectives for the period are:
•Design loops completion through preliminary a/c design activities for the investigated Aircraft configurations and delivery of ASMs to TE
•Detailed design phase completion for all Demonstrators
•Manufacturing of components for the demonstrators
•Qualification of items for ground tests and for safety of flight
•Integration of innovative components and systems into the demonstrators
•Execution of on-ground and in-flight demonstrations
•Assessment of the on-ground and in-flight test results achieving respectively TRL5 and TRL6 for the innovative technologies
•Deliver of inputs to ECO TA for LCA evaluations.
• Regional Aircraft IADP activities related to green conceptual aircraft performed in 2020-2022 confirmed the achievement of the CS2 ambitious environmental. Hybrid-electrical configurations focused on promising electrical propulsion architectures.
• Flying Test Bed 2 wing structural modification of demo aircraft and manufacturing of central wing box on-ground demonstrator completed in 2020; achievement of the Permit to Fly in Dec. 2021; In-flight demonstration completed in 2022. All the flight points covered and TRL 6 achieved. The technologies tests in this demonstrator come from AIRFRAME, SYSTEMS and REGIONAL platforms including morphing winglets, multi-functional flaps, the affordable flight control system and the integrated Satcom antenna. The crews feedback of the aircraft behavior is very positive and performances confirmed the previous research done during CS2 from Airbus D&S, core partners and partners.
• The Flight Test Bed 1 CDR held in 2020; ground structural/functional tests of morphing winglet and innovative wingtip executed in 2021; experimental modifications and Ground Resonance Test for the Innovative Wing Tip Configuration completed, Advanced WingLets delivered in 2022.
• Wind tunnel tests demonstration campaigns completed in 2021 and results assessed in 2022 for Large low speed Wind Tunnel model, Large high-speed Wind Tunnel model, Load Control & Alleviation-Aeroservoelastic Wind tunnel. CDRs of Wing Ice Protection System and Innovative Propeller achieved in 2020 and Innovative Propeller Wind Tunnel Tests and Ice Wind Tunnel Test for de-icing technology demonstrated in 2022.
• Pax Cabin ground demonstrator CDR held in 2020; fuselage panels manufactured for both demonstrators up to 2022; Pax Cabin on-ground demonstrator assembling progressed well.
• Outer Wing Box on ground demonstrator manufacturing tools and components manufactured (panels, ribs, spars, etc.) in 2020-2022 and assembly cell delivered in 2022.
• Iron bird skeleton and several test benches manufactured from 2020; all components delivered up to 2022.
Important progress has been achieved towards the environmental goals for the Green Conceptual Regional Aircraft Configurations (Advanced Turboprop 90pax, Innovative Turboprop 130pax, Multimission Turboprop 70pax).
The flight test campaign of FTB2 provided very valuable data to feed the aircraft models of the future regional multi-mission aircraft showing compliance with the environmental goals of Clean Sky 2 in this type of platform. The work of technology maturation will progress with the forthcoming activities of the Step 2.
Impacts are expected from outcomes of the Green Conceptual Regional Aircraft Configuration activities and from validation of innovative technologies through the above full-scale demonstrations: Greening, Industrial leadership and enhanced Mobility.
Completion of design loops activities in 2021 substantiated that High Level Objectives for the REG green conceptual aircraft can be achieved in terms of pollution and noise reduction:
•Advanced TP, 90 pax (targets are wrt. ATR 72, in-service during 2014, scaled to 90 Pax)
CO2 reduction: 35 / 40% , NOx reduction: >50% , Noise reduction: 60/70%
•Innovative TP, 130 pax (targets wrt. Regional Jet in-service in 2014)
CO2 reduction: 19 / 25% , NOx reduction: 19/25% , Noise reduction: 20/30%
•Multimission TP, 70 pax (targets are wrt. 2014 Airbus DS Multi-mission aircraft
CO2 reduction: 20 / 30%, NOx reduction: 20 / 30% , Noise reduction: 20/30%
Activities on Hybrid-electrical configurations studies focused on a promising architecture achieved significant progress towards the potential application of electric hybrid technology to regional class aircraft.
In commercial aviation, the regional aircraft market continues to be a key growth sector of the airline industry and contributes to efficient air transport system, ensuring safe and seamless mobility, creating new jobs and respecting the environment towards a European carbon neutrality deal.
Industrial and market impact have been released to JU supporting website updating and stating that regional carriers typically operate aircraft, such as regional jets and turboprops, with a seating capacity ranging from 19 to 130 seats, on short to medium-haul routes. At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic, the regional aviation world fleet able to perform scheduled connections amounts to roughly 9300 units (regional turboprops were around 5000 units with an average age of 23 years; regional jets were the remaining part with an average age of 12 years) representing more than 30% of the worldwide commercial fleet. At the same time roughly 38% of world city pairs is served by regional aircraft able to perform about 40% of the total departures and around 36% of the total flown hours.
In terms of regional connectivity 36% of existing airport are relying exclusively on turboprop operated services. In terms of flights distribution, around 80% of regional aircraft routes cover distances below 500 nm and over 50% is operated on distances below 300 nm, where the turboprop have the dominance.
In the next 20 years, the regional air traffic is expected to increase at an average yearly rate of over 4.5%, generating a market demand of over 8200 new regional aircraft including the large regional aircraft, with a market value of about € 390 billion (averaging € 19.5 billion per year).
The integration of innovative and affordable technologies in future regional aircraft platforms is a key success factor for manufacturers as it increases the appeal and customer benefits by providing a better inflight experience for passengers, thanks to improved comfort and lower cabin noise levels, including less noise in and around airports too.
Furthermore, airlines derive significant economic advantages from operating modern aircraft which are more efficient, eco-friendly, easier and cost-efficient to manage and maintain, saving money through the reduction of operating costs.
In a future characterized by extensive use of innovative technologies, regional aviation’s potential market will increase up to 20%-30% over the 2025-2050 timeframe, also thanks to the introduction of some new hybrid-electric regional programs.
Regional Multimission Concept Aircraft (AIRBUS DS)
CS2 REG From Technology developments to full-scale
Regional TP90 Pax Concept Aircraft (LDO VEL)