The final meeting attended by representatives of the European Commission was held in the Polish research center ILOT residing in Warsaw. The project was coordinated by PBS Velká Bíteš, along with VZLU. The international research project ESPOSA (Efficient Systems and Propulsion for Small Aircraft) was obtained in the 4th call of the 7th Framework Programme of the EU. The aim of the ESPOSA project was to design new key components for small turbine engines with an output up to 1000 kW and develop efficient manufacturing technologies for the production of these components. The project involved the development of advanced electronic engine management systems that increase the overall efficiency of propulsion units, increasing safety and reducing the workload of pilots during flight controls. New engine systems and technologies developed within the ESPOSA project should ultimately reduce direct operating costs (DOC) by 10-14%. Another objective was to secure affordable turbine power units for manufacturers of small aircraft and helicopters.
Final meeting was held from May 31 to June 2. The coordinator of this great European project with 40 participants was PBS Velká Bíteš along with VZLU. Total funding from the European Commission on the nearly five-year project amounted to EUR 25 mil. EUR.
The impetus for the creation of the project has been the growing interest in modern turboprop and turboshaft propulsion units from aircraft manufacturers of general aviation, which includes various types of small aircraft and helicopters for transportation of 2-5 people. The reason for the growing demand in this segment is mainly the obsolescence and inefficiency of presently manufactured engines, or even complete absence of modern and certified turbine engines with lower performance. Developed technologies and new technical solutions of the ESPOSA project used platforms of TP / TS100 engines with output of 160-250 kW from PBS Velká Bíteš and turboprop engines of AI-450 series with an output of about 500 kW developed by companies Ivchenko Progress and Motor Sich, based in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.
Research work included the improvement of parameters of the main engine components and the improvement of their production costs and durability. The innovation of engines includes a newly designed electronic engine control based on COTS (Component Off-The-Shelf) components. Electronic modules providing engine condition monitoring and advanced solutions for fuel and propeller control system are part of the engine control.
The development of methodologies for optimization of motor installations was an important part of the project. It concerned solving major problems arising in connection with the installation of new turbine engines into various configurations of aircraft and helicopters. It involved the optimization of installations in terms of mechanical, aerodynamic, aero-acoustic and thermal management using the latest heat-resistant composite materials on fairing and some internal engine parts.
ESPOSA’s outstanding characteristic was that a number of project outputs were physically materialized to the point of functional demonstrators. These were then tested either in a laboratory environment, or even in flight conditions. In the case of TP / TS100 engines, two turboprop airplanes and one helicopter managed to get to the stage of flight tests. Large volume of work was carried out. In addition to scientific papers, new algorithms and software have been developed. Several components for engines were produced and tested on three different air platforms. Video of individual take-offs can be watched here.
Besides the realization of demonstrators, extensive know-how in the given field originated during the ESPOSA. Part of this knowledge has been published at conferences and in technical journals. Publications included over ninety contributions and articles.
VZLU participated in the work of 16 work packages (WP). In the field of aerospace components, the Institute led tasks aimed at developing new combustion chambers and on the development of long-life gearboxes. Within the experimental development of new technologies for turbine parts a high-speed wind tunnel located in Palmovka has been utilized. VZLU also provided its capacities in the field of modeling turbo machinery. VZLU specialists greatly contributed to the development of new systems, engine control and health monitoring systems.
In the field of optimizing the build-up area, VZLU’s capabilities were used in internal and external aerodynamics. During the ESPOSA project, computational and experimental tools for swirling flutter were improved. The project included a wide range of standard and non-standard testing work, which VZLU acquitted itself very well. Finally, we should mention the extensive work within the coordination and administration of the project, which was ensured by the team of VZLU workers. In addition to valuable technical outputs, the ESPOSA project has contributed to the visibility of VZLU and 6 other Czech participants in the European aviation community.
ESPOSA - Efficient Systems and Propulsion for Small Aircraft
Budget: 37,7 mil. EUR
EC Contribution: 25 mil. EUR
Number of participants: 40 (15 European and non-European countries)
More information about the ESPOSA project can be found on the website: www.esposa-project.eu