ONERA (The French National Aerospace Research Laboratory) is celebrating its 70th birthday this year, but far from slipping into retirement the research centre, which employs 2,000 people, is a hive of activity with plenty of projects in the pipeline. Here, we’ll show you two of them.
First of all, NOVA, a twin-aisle, mid-range aircraft that looks like a shark. It will be able to carry 180 passengers at nearly 560 mph. What’s unique about it are the two large engines, half buried at the rear of the fuselage and a more tapered wingspan as well as down facing winglets. This improves the aircraft’s propulsion power and lowers fuel consumption. As it stands today, the aerodynamic design for the NOVA project is finalised. Now all that remains is to build the models and carry out the wind tunnel tests. This will take place in 2018. Then it will be up to the industry to take over if they wish to.
The second project is AMPERE, a 4 to 6 passenger aircraft with a high mounted wing that has 32 little engines on it powered by various sources of electric energy. Thanks to their excellent yield, these engines will then be placed on the aircraft wing and create lift. This will enable very short take offs and landings. A three-yard wide model will soon undergo wind tunnel tests to check the technological feasibility of the concept. It won’t however be in operation for at least another ten years.