Improving UK aero sustainability

GKN will be researching large electric Vertical Take-Off & Landing (eVTOL) vehicles.
GKN will be researching large electric Vertical Take-Off & Landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

GKN Aerospace plans to contribute to three programs covering sustainability in the aerospace industry. The programs form part of the Future Flight Challenge, a four-year, £125 million project funded by UK Research and Innovation focused on electrification, unmanned commercial flight and industry connectivity.

The three programs are:

Skybus: a new transport network, based on large electric Vertical Take-Off & Landing (eVTOL) vehicles capable of carrying between 30-50 passengers each, using a ‘Park and Ride’ concept for mass transit over extremely congested routes. It is led by GKN Aerospace with the following partners: Swanson Aviation Consultancy, Pascall+Watson and Connected Places Catapult.

Safe Flight, which researches how to integrate autonomous systems in shared airspace in a safe manner. This proposal addresses technological challenges, in terms of the integration of a range of technologies in real-world use case demonstrations, but importantly it also looks at the underpinning business need of a clear route to certifiable aircraft systems and approved operations. Safe Flight is led by GKN Aerospace with the following partners: University of Bath, 3UG Autonomous Systems and Callen-Lenz.

NAPKIN: the modeling of a UK-wide domestic sustainable aviation network promoting zero carbon emissions, connectivity where surface infrastructure is lacking, and UK business growth and competitiveness. NAPKIN is led by Heathrow Airport, in collaboration with GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce, Highlands & Islands Airports, Deloitte, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, London City Airport, University of Southampton, University College London and Cranfield University.

‘We’re investing in ambitious projects to make flying more sustainable and ensure passengers have greater choice about how they travel,’ said UK minister for business, Paul Scully. ‘Pioneering research supported by government funding will help the UK build back greener from the pandemic, remain at the forefront of aerospace research and development, and provide global leadership in the next aviation revolution.’

This story uses material from GKN, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.