EASN Thematic Structure

A Working Group consisting of NLR, QinetiQ and ONERA constructed the ASTERA taxonomy for aeronautical R&T. This is a hierarchical taxonomy that builds upon existing European structuring efforts, such as the GARTEUR taxonomy and EUROCONTROL's ARDEP taxonomy.

The ASTERA taxonomy has been defined, reviewed and agreed upon by a considerable group of experts from different fields within the European aeronautics community. This has given the taxonomy a strong foundation. Therefore EASN uses and if necessary modifies this taxonomy in order to approach a classification of university activities in the field of aeronautics.

Innovative Concepts and Scenarios


Scenarios analysis

Scenarios provide a means for raising the awareness of decision-makers towards the implications of plausible possible futures, Scenario-based planning tells a series of consistent stories about the future outcome of existing paradigms and trends.

1. Identification of drivers of change (technological, demographic, cultural, political).
2. Elaboration of basic trends (societal, cultural).
3. Key uncertainties - derivation, analysis.
4. Scenario generation.
5. Scenario analysis.
6. Drivers for future research - agenda setting and evaluation.


Unconventional configurations and new aircraft concepts

Radically new concepts in aircraft design could provide step changes - in flexibility of cabin layout (allowing for more specific tailoring of cabin space for business or leisure purposes) and reductions in operating costs resulting from highly integrated airframes, avionics and engines.

1. Blended wing/body airliners.
2. Supersonic or hypersonic airliners.
3. Lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicles/airships - cargo transport, surveillance, communications, remote imaging.
4. Very large payload capacity aircraft - cargo transports, airliners, utilisation of Wing In Ground effect (WIG).
5. Fully automated aircraft - 24 hour a day operation.
6. Tilt-rotor and other vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) configurations.
7. Hybrid configurations.
8. Dedicated freight aircraft operations using separate infrastructures from passenger airliners - inter-modality issues.
9. Interface with airport ground systems.


Breakthrough technologies

New air transport paradigms may evolve from speculative, exploratory research and concept studies.

1. New materials.
2. Advanced design technologies.
3. Alternative fuels.
4. Safety enabling technologies - remote control of aircraft, fully automated approach and landing.
5. Unmanned aircraft.
6. Free flight control regime.
7. Technology watching.