Research projects are the building blocks of a larger strategic aeronautics policy, helping to make Europe a leading player in the world market. The following are just two examples of work that is pushing the technological envelope in the area of flight safety.
International regulations require commercial airliners to be separated in flight by up to six nautical miles (more than 11 km) due to the potential hazard caused by the swirling air left in their wakes. This ‘wake vortex’ is now the subject of intense European research to understand the nature of the phenomenon and to find ways of making air travel safer while reducing congestion. The prediction of wake characteristics is extremely complicated. The EU-funded wake vortex projects C-Wake and S-Wake are respectively addressing the control of the wake vortex and the safety of aircraft after encountering one. Both bring together work being done by industry, research centres, airlines, pilots and air traffic authorities.
New Fire/Smoke Detection and Fire Extinguishing Systems for Aircraft Applications
The development of new large passenger aircraft with two or even three decks requires new strategies for ensuring passenger safety. A next-generation fire detection system will assure early and reliable fire/smoke warning and an optimal interaction between detection and suppression capabilities. The FIREDETEX project is developing an environmentally friendly water mist/nitrogen system, including a device for visualising onboard fire status in inaccessible areas.