About Future Sky

What is Future Sky?

EREA, the association of European Research Establishments in Aeronautics launches Future Sky: a Joint Research Initiative in which development and integration of aviation technologies is taken to the European level. 

Future Sky is based on the alignment of national institutional research for aviation by setting up joint research programmes. EREA believes institutional co-operation of European research establishments is the best guarantee to ensure technological development to the benefit of European society and industry, beyond the current SESAR and Clean Sky timescales. 

Future Sky’s overall goal is “Twenty-four-Seven”. This concept describes the full airside mobility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, resilient against any impacts e.g. from disruptive events like extreme weather, in line with the goals laid down by FligthPath 2050. 

Although Future Sky finds its origins in the alignment of the research programmes of the national research establishments, industry and universities are explicitly invited to join Future Sky. The European Commission will be involved not only through the funding mechanisms for Future Sky under Horizon 2020, but also in giving guidance for the set-up and management of the joint research initiative. 


Collaboration of national research establishments

The national research establishments that have gathered in EREA are all committed to contribute to Future Sky. For each joint research programme, the national research establishments will draft of roadmap for the next five to seven years. The research establishments will map out which areas of a certain research theme are covered by their institutional research programmes and where they see opportunities for sharing results and joint planning. The roadmap will also identify certain research gaps that are not yet or insufficiently covered by the national institutional research programmes. These gaps will be tackled in a new European research project in which the research establishments will actively seek to collaborate with universities and industry. The aim of Future Sky is to enhance collaboration between national establishments and to involve the aviation research community as whole to prepare for a competitive European aviation industry in 2050.


How Future Sky contributes to Flightpath 2050

In order to fulfil Flightpath 2050 goals European aviation research needs to target the complete Air Transport System and to apply a full life cycle engineering approach, covering the full research and innovation chain. The ACARE SRIA envisages putting in place attractive and efficient research instruments, which ensure continuity between research on promising breakthrough concepts, their validation by focussed RTD actions and finally their demonstration in an integrated environment.

Furthermore Flightpath 2050 and the ACARE SRIA are proposing to establish multidisciplinary clusters of excellence for research and innovation, to achieve common technology goals (outcome of a common strategy to address societal issues). They ensure that the appropriate organisations are tackling activities at the appropriate level in the innovation chain. For demonstration activities on system level the well-known JTI concept lead by industry has been proven to be successful. 

Future Sky will combine the power and the capacities of the research establishments in EREA into multidisciplinary clusters of excellence proposed by Flightpath 2050 in order to ensure appropriate mid and long term research on lower level TRLs complementing the industrial lead demonstration activities on higher TRLs. As mentioned above Future Sky will address the 24/7 Air Transport System as outlined in Flightpath 2050. 


Four main goals of Future Sky

FlightPath2050 is a visionary document, describing the challenges aviation is facing. At the end of Future Sky, the elements needed to cope with this, i.e. technologies, systems and processes, including products will be more clearly defined up to a timeframe of 2035.

In order to prepare technologies for the future, knowledge and expertise are needed, including the way how combining local knowledge to European strategic knowledge. While the two JUs Clean Sky and SESAR support the knowledge building process for real products, and mainly at the OEM and SME side, Future Sky will pick that up, but also aims for knowledge of the next generation.
In addition, aviation personnel are more and more lacking experience due to missing industrial programmes. By going for large validation experiments, but still addressing the research side, Future Sky will contribute largely to the education of future aviation engineers and scientists, the core resource of Europe’s future.

Some 100 years ago, aeronautics fascinated the public by records and adventures. Some 50 years ago, aviation fascinated by all-new products such as the B747 or the Concorde, both of which have never be seen before in the sky. At present, aviation has lost much of its fascination; it seems to be a business as others. However, there are still physical limits to be explored in aviation; there are new challenges and possibilities, asking for new approaches in thinking. Future Sky will address this field, and make aviation fascinating again for the public. In particular, the large scale experiments of Future Sky shall build up the former fascination again, making education in technical fields attractive again for the youth.
Even though this is an indirect goal, it is of high importance, not only within aviation.

Clean Sky as well as SESAR take care of competitive aspects for the next generation of products and European ATM. Future Sky will analyse as well as prepare the scientific technological ground for future aviation business beyond this scope, by defining the elements, vehicles, technologies and products to come. 

THE GOVERNING GOAL OF FUTURE SKY WILL BE “24/7”. This concept describes the full airside mobility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, resilient against any impacts e.g. from disruptive events like extreme weather, in line with FligthPath 2050. Under “24/7”, new environmental friendly vehicles will be needed, so quiet that they are allowed to operate during night. Totally new elements will be needed, too, such as large UAV for air cargo. “24/7” will address also intermodal aspects; as such, and in addition with respect to worldwide day-and-night operations.


The Joint Research Programmes under Future Sky

Twentyfour-Seven Enablers – the four major pillars of JRI, will be started one by one every two years. The joint research programmes, or so-called TSE, under Future Sky will be: 

TSE 1: SAFETY – EREA takes the responsibility to provide the research and validation needed to guarantee in the short term safety rules, regulations, measures and standards, and in the long term to fulfil the Flightpath2050 goals concerning safety.

TSE 2: QUIET AIR TRANSPORT– push forward research on thorough understanding of air transport noise and innovative low-TRL enabling technologies on the one hand, and impact and perception on the other hand. .

TSE 3: AIR TRANSPORT INTEGRATION–  Technology Integration into aircraft, Aircraft integration into the transport system including regulatory requirements, Integration of unmanned freighters and Intermodal aspects integration into a future total transport system. 

TSE 4: ENERGY – as a consequence to TSE 2 and TSE 3 asking for new energy concepts, the last TSE will address the energy system on-board and on-ground.
Only with these four elements, the whole 24/7 goal can be gained, and the complete impact of aviation to the environment can be analysed.

It is foreseen that Future Sky will be part of the European Commission’s programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020. For each joint research programme or TSE in which the research establishments will coordinate their institutional programmes and at the same time set up open European research projects to fill the gaps of a research roadmap, a European contribution of about 25 million is foreseen.