Environment friendly flight path - Technology streams

GRC5 addresses the areas of polluting gaseous emissions (NOx, CO2) produced by fuel combustion and of noise generated mainly by rotor blades, engines and transmission gears.

Gaseous emissions

Fuel consumption, and consequently CO2 and NOx production, is strongly dependent on flight conditions (altitude, speed, air temperature). For such reason, the flight path is a key parameter for reducing emissions. In order to identify the optimal mission profiles minimising pollutants an appropriate database collecting all the significant flight parameters (speed, engine torque, RPM vs. NOx and CO2 emissions) will be created. Partners Politecnico di Milano and Centro Combustione Ambiente have been selected to support activities respectively on predictive numerical methodologies (see figure on the left) and experimental measurements. A dedicated flight test campaign to collect pollutant data is scheduled end of 2011.

Noise footprint

Operations within densely populated areas (hospitals, vertiports) require the development of new low-noise procedures, to minimise noise perceived on ground during departure, low level flight and approach with variable airspeed and rate of climb/descent profiles. High vertical precision satellite navigation (EGNOS, Galileo) enables such new procedures. Furthermore dedicated software tools like HELENA code developed in the FRIENDCOPTER project and other specific software developed within GRC5 will support the prediction of noise footprint and allow the optimisation of flight procedures. On-board system will be developed to reduce pilot workload for managing low-noise flight paths (an example is depicted on the left).

The GARDEN partner consortium has been selected to define and deliver air navigation requirements for the design of low noise helicopter-specific IFR procedures, ensuring compliance with ICAO criteria on heliports design. A measurement campaign was performed in 2010 for the
noise characterisation of the EC155 to develop low-noise procedures (see photo hereafter). The new flight procedures resulting from GRC5 will consider the ATM concepts developed in SESAR.