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European Windtunnel Association


The initial dialogue between several European wind tunnel operators and research organisations regarding the concept of a Network of Excellence started in December 2002. This initiative was based on the view that building long-term, formal relationships between the research capacities of 14 member organisations from eight European countries, including three industrial organisations, three commercial wind tunnel operators, seven research organisations and one organisation for post-doctoral education, would provide direct technical and scientific synergy effects and improvements in competitiveness.

Project objectives

The goal of the European Windtunnel Association (EWA) is to form a Network of Excellence for aeronautical applications and related advanced measuring technologies with a management structure and a joint programme of activities. In a four-step progressive approach (Preparation, Harmonisation, Implementation, and Presentation of Integration) over a period of five years, it will integrate and strengthen European aeronautical research by building lasting relationships and interdependencies between the major European wind tunnels for aeronautical applications and developers of advanced measuring technologies for aeronautical applications. Thus, EWA will be able to provide research institutes and the aerospace industry with a comprehensive and harmonised set of better and extended services with full coverage of their possible needs. The network will also establish close links to leading European universities in the field of aeronautics in order to provide a fast transfer of new ideas. The benefits achieved by the co-operation activities will be disseminated to industrial end-users inside and outside of the association by means of an exchange of personnel, workshops and presentations of advanced measurement technologies performed in industrial wind tunnels.

ONERA S1 subsonic/sonic wind-tunnel at Modane-Avrieux, France
ONERA S1 subsonic/sonic wind-tunnel at Modane-Avrieux, France

Description of the work

The EWA project went live in April 2004. The first 18 months of the Joint Programme of Activities comprised the whole 12 months of Phase 1, Preparation of Integration, and the first six months of Phase 2, Harmonisation of Integration. The planned activities within this period primarily cover information exchanges about available resources, current interests, benchmarking of existing resources, identification of missing resources, building a road map to close any such gaps, and performing co-operative actions to improve mutual understanding and confidence-building measures. These activities are necessary and crucial for shaping EWA as a long lasting co-operation between partners coming from different cultures, who may have previously been competitors, within the narrow confines of the wind tunnel test market. EWA activities are currently organised in four Work Packages.

Work Package 1: Integrating activities is initially dedicated to the identification of test technique developments perceived by the EWA partners as a requirement to satisfy customers’ future needs. Armed with this list of technology topics necessary to achieve our future vision, the partners will identify which particular topics are appropriate for them to co-operate on.

Work Package 2: Advanced wind tunnel testing is focused on the development and technical evaluation of measurement techniques and facilities. The most prominent intent is to develop and harmonise wind tunnel test techniques and standards in order to facilitate the execution of commercial and/or co-operative test programmes and the exchange of wind tunnel data.

Work Package 3: Spreading of excellence activities covers one of the key objectives of EWA. The impact obtained from this co-operative network is turned into a common benefit for partners of the network and the European industry. Promotion of advanced measurement technologies through workshops and presentations of these techniques is accompanied by learning activities and training (including the exchange of personnel) of wind tunnel engineers.

Work Package 4: Management activities are, besides their obvious intent, dedicated to the promotion of gender equality within the network and human relationships among the partners across Europe.

Expected results

The expected outcome of EWA as a whole will be to integrate and strengthen European aeronautical research by building lasting relationships and inter-dependencies between the major European wind tunnel operators and developers of advanced measuring technologies. The partnership will be able to offer a harmonised and extended set of services to researchers and the global aerospace industry. EWA will also enable researchers to bring new experimental techniques into operation in industrial wind tunnels much faster than in the past.

EADS MAKO model in test section of DNW-HST, pressure distribution measured by means of pressure sensitive paint (PSP) on the model surface.
EADS MAKO model in test section of DNW-HST, pressure distribution measured by means of pressure sensitive paint (PSP) on the model surface.