Future Sky is a joint research initiative from the association of European Research Establishments in Aviation (EREA). Within this initiative Royal NLR and its European peers contribute to the competitiveness and greening of European aviation towards 2050. To this extent, NLR and the other EREA research establishments work together extensively with universities and industrial partners, to set up joint research projects matching the European co-funded research agendas with their own institutional research programmes.

The Future Sky initiative is divided into six programmes: Safety, Quiet Air Transport, Energy, Security for aviation, UAM, en Circular Aviation. NLR is leading the programmes on safety and circular aviation.

Future Sky Safety

Future Sky Safety is an EU-funded research programme in the field of European aviation safety, with an estimated initial budget of about € 50 million, which brings together 33 European partners to develop new tools and new approaches to aeronautics safety starting in January 2015.

The first phase of the programme research focuses on four main topics:

  • Building ultra-resilient vehicles and improving the cabin safety
  • Reducing risk of accidents
  • Improving processes and technologies to achieve near-total control over the safety risks
  • Improving safety performance under unexpected circumstances

The programme will also help coordinate the research and innovation agendas of several countries and institutions, as well as create synergies with other EU initiatives in the field (e.g. SESAR, Clean Sky 2). Future Sky Safety is set up with expected seven years duration, divided into two phases of which the first one of 4 years has been formally approved. The programme has started on the 1st of January 2015.

Circular flights

Future Sky Circular Aviation has been founded in January 2018 with the goal of realising the first fully circular flight by 2050. Such goal can only be achieved, first of all, by creating awareness in the aviation industry about Circular Economy and its importance. The aviation industry naturally incorporates aspects intrinsic in Circular Economy, such as knowledge of the supply chain, and importance of maintenance and repairs.

Those strengths can be seen as lessons learned for different industries, in the circular spirit of cooperation. They can also be reinforced by incorporating more circularity aspects in the aviation industry. Therefore it is of paramount importance to investigate technical solutions, ranging from digitalisation to manufacturing, from new design concepts to the use of recycled materials.

The programme is actively looking for cooperation with industrial partners and educational and research institutions who want to actively contribute to combine sustainability with economic gain for the aviation industry.