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ReLOAD Successfully Concludes

Written by: N. Stokes

Lightening the load: Clean Sky's ReLOAD successfully concludes

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Clean Sky's ReLOAD (Regional turboprop loads control through active and passive technologies) project focused on innovative solutions for load alleviation on the wing of a regional turboprop aircraft. Led by ARA the ReLOAD project successfully concluded in March 2019.

Load alleviation is a concept where devices such as spoilers and ailerons are used to redistribute the forces on the wing during gust events or when turning in a manoeuvre. By alleviating loads, it is possible to design wings in a way that makes them lighter, which has the multiple benefits of reducing fuel burn, cutting emissions, and also reducing turbulence for passengers — all in alignment with Europe's Horizon 2020 ambitions.

‘The reduction of loads on an aircraft wing during gust events and manoeuvres is an active research topic on the global scene. As well as the environmental benefits, successful use of load alleviation will lead to reduced operating costs and hence a competitive advantage for those who are first to market and/or who have a technological advantage.’ Andrew Peace, Chief Scientist at ARA and ReLOAD coordinator

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For ReLOAD ARA partnered with the Technical University Delft (TUD) and used RUAG Large Wind Tunnel facility in Emmen, Switzerland, as a sub-contractor. The project used a combination of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind-tunnel testing (WTT) to characterise and assess both active and passive load control solutions.

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Work in ReLOAD focused on the power-off analysis, through the use of novel data fusion techniques to combine the CFD and WTT datasets and extrapolate to full scale. This combined data gave Airbus a view as to how they could use spoilers and ailerons as load control or load alleviation devices over and above normal use.

An important benefit of the ReLOAD project is to pave the way for Clean Sky's PERTURB (Power effects aerodynamics for a regional turboprop) project, also led by ARA, which started recently and is focused on the aerodynamic characterisation of the Clean Sky Flight Test Bench 2 (FTB2) aircraft, again through a combination of CFD and wind-tunnel testing in real conditions.

The benefits to ARA from leading the ReLOAD project have been: 
  • Knowledge gained and the development of technologies and capabilities.
  • Relationships built with partners and also the topic manager.
  • Consortium building.
  • Commercial benefits to ARA outside Clean Sky.
  • Raising ARA’s profile within Europe as a research establishment.

The full article on the ReLoad Project completion can be read here: