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.

Integrated Design and Validation


Methods and IT tools for Collaborative Product & Process Engineering

Enhanced Aeronautical Concurrent Engineering: provide a generic development lifecycle to increase understanding between collaborating companies to:
- Reduce time to bring new product to market.
- Reduce costs.
Collaboration between aeronautical sectors, without (immediately) adapting or changing company tools which leads to a secure and reliable exchange of information between geographically distributed companies (e.g. Internet). Therefore collaborative work will be enhanced between distributed sites, by getting rid of geographical and cultural barriers. This will be achieved by using a Common virtual environment in which anyone can communicate and work with anyone else as in face to face meeting. It provides standardised collaborative work methods and organisational rules for meeting, email, telephone, reviews, memo exchange ?, gives organisational constraints on skills and responsibilities required and rules for co-located work and distant work.

1. Virtual Enterprise.
2. Secure IT infrastructure.
3. Workflow management systems.
4. Virtual environments for collaborative working.
5. Product Lifecycle interaction.
6. Virtual Conferencing.


On-board systems engineering

Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses the entire technical effort, and evolves into and verifies an integrated and life-cycle balanced set of system people, products and process solutions that satisfy customer needs. [ref. EIA standard IS-632, System Engineering, December 1994]. On-board Systems Engineering focus on the effort related to the design, manufacturing and validation of on-board systems.

1. Integration system technologies.
2. Modelling and Simulation (including rapid and virtual prototyping).
3. Incremental Certification.
4. Interconnecting technology.
5. Avionics rig testing.
6. Laboratory systems testing.
7. Interface Control Specification methods: Mechanical interface, Electronic interface, Data exchange.


Environmental and EM compliance engineering process

Environmental worthiness is the capability of the (sub)system or component to perform its full array of intended functions in the intended use environments.Environmental and Electromagnetic compliance engineering deals with the processes needed to define both the environments and the derived equipment requirements, as well as with the design, implementation and verification of these requirements.

1. Performance base specifications to define the real use environments.
2. Sources.
3. Advanced Environmental and EMI protection design and verification measures.
5. Lightning.
6. Hardening.
7. Shock testing.


Flight/ Ground Tests

The testing in flight of an aircraft or item(s) of aircraft equipment. The aims of that testing can be very diverse: they may be to investigate new concepts, to provide empirical data to substantiate design assumptions, or to demonstrate that an aircraft and/or its equipment achieve specified levels of performance, etc. Thus flight testing covers a broad spectrum of topics, the common feature of which is that there is a degree of novelty in the aircraft, its equipment or its intended usage, which requires assessment in flight. (Flight-testing is of course, usually preceded by appropriate Ground testing). (Ref.: AGARDograph Flight Test Techniques Series 300 Vol. 14: ?Introduction to Flight Test Engineering?, NATO, Paris, ISBN 92-836-1020-2)

1. Test planning: Test plan, Flight plan, Test schedule.
2. Test specification: Test cards, Performance, Flight Control, Runway performance, Weapon (integration), Reliability & Maintainability, Interior Noise, Exterior noise, Logistics, Navigation and Communication, Air Data, Flight envelope, Propulsion, Environmental extremes, Avionics, Antenna patterns, Handling qualities, Aero-elasticity/Flutter, Human factors, Ground-Vibration, Pre-flight, Airframe systems, Simulator data gathering.
3. Hazard analysis/Safety: Safety of flight, Recovery, Minimum crew, Risk assessment, On board safety provisions, Engine failure, Deep stall, Flight test safety monitoring, EMI-EMC, Crew safety training, Safety procedures.
4. Test conduct: Test cards / Responsibility distribution / Procedures / Briefing and Debriefing / Test report.
5. Instrumentation system: Measurement , Data Acquisition and Recording equipment, Calibration.
6. Data processing and analysis: Data archiving, Data reduction, Engineering units, Data retrieval , Flight Test Data Base, Telemetry, Ground monitoring.
7. Logistics support: Spares, Repair, Maintenance, Training.
8. Certification & Qualification: Certification reports, Airworthiness authorities, Certificate of Airworthiness.


Life-cycle Integration

Life cycle integration is achieved through integrated development - that is, concurrent consideration of all life cycle needs during the development process.

1. Technology management : Product improvement strategies through technology refresh and insertion methods.
2. Obsolescence Management1. Reliability Engineering methods.
3. COTS management, COTS reliability prediction and assessment methods.
4. Design for Maintainability.
5. Testability: built-in Test.
6. Integrated modular avionics.
7. Open systems architectures.
8. Training: embedded training.
9. Whole-life Cost Analysis / Life-cycle cost analysis, Total ownership costs: Re-design costs, Cost matrix.


System Certification

Certification means the legal recognition by the certification authority that a product, service, organisation or person complies with the applicable requirements. Such certification comprises the activity of technically checking the product, service, organisation or person and the formal recognition of compliance with the applicable requirements by issue of a certificate, license, approval or other documents as required by national laws and procedures.
In particular, certification of a product involves: (a) The process of assessing the design of a product to ensure that it complies with a set of standards applicable to that type of product so as to demonstrate an acceptable level of safety.
(b) The process of assessing an individual product to ensure that it conforms with the certified type design.
(c) The issue of any certificate required by national laws to declare that compliance or conformity has been found with standards in accordance with items (a) or (b) above.(Ref. ARP4754).

1. Certification of new technologies and operations.
2. Certification of air-worthiness, certification requirements for airborne andnon-airborne systems.
3. Incremental certification.
4. System safety assessment.
5. HW / SW certification.
6. Improvement of existing rules and regulations (e.g. Cross-wind criteria, contaminated runway criteria), in the future particularly relevant to ATM in view of complete lack of certification of ATM systems).


Fault Tolerant Systems

The built-in capability of a system to provide continued correct execution in the presence of a limited number of hardware or software faults.
The goal of fault tolerance is to include safety features in the software design or source code to ensure that the system will respond correctly to input data errors and prevent output and control errors. The need for fault tolerance in a system is determined by the system requirements and the system safety assessment process

1. Fault tolerant mechanisms: Redundancy, Backup (hot, cold,..), Voting mechanism, Fault detection.
2. Parallel processing / Synchronisation mechanisms.
3. Fault propagation, Isolation of fault effects.


Hazard Analysis

Generally, and formal or informal study, evaluation, or analysis to identify hazards using generic and speciality techniques. Specifically, qualitative and quantitative assessments of risk in support of design, decision making (validation, evaluation), and risk based regulation.

Risk and Safety management: analysis (internal/external) and policy:
1. Safety / Risk management: Operational safety assessment, Risk determination.
1.1. Review of proposed operation.
1.2. Hazard identification and clustering.
1.3. Identification of conflict scenarios.
1.4. Expert judgement to evaluate frequency and severity of hazards.
1.5. Mitigating measures.
2. Safety requirements (rules and regulations):
2.1. Requirement based testing.
2.2. Requirement evaluation.
2.3. Requirement development.


Safety modelling

Development of static or dynamic models to evaluate safety or unsafety of a new or existing organisation, operation, procedure, technical system, or hazard mitigating measure. Several tools and techniques are used to develop safety models, such as mathematical models, analytical tools, formal techniques, causal safety models, model languages, bias and uncertainty models, safety criteria models, safety requirements models, Monte Carlo simulations, expert elicitationmethods.

1. Safety perception modelling.
2. Third party risk modelling.
3. Wake vortex induced risk modelling.
4. Collision risk modelling.
5. Dependability modelling.
6. Controlled Flight Into Terrain modelling.
7. Flight security modelling.
8. Bird strike risk modelling.
9. Safety management modelling, etc.


Air Safety Data analysis

Systematic analysis of aviation accident / incident data with or without flight exposure data

1. Trend identification.
2. Datamining.
3. Analysis of flight data from day-to-day operations, risk analysis.
4. Compilation of a sample of Air Traffic Management related accidents.
5. Compilation of exposure data (i.e. number of conducted flights).
6. Estimation of accident rates.
7. Accident Sample Inclusion Criteria.
8. Accident taxonomy.
9. Accident data breakdown: Flight phase, Event types, Fatalities, World regions.


System reliability

Reliability: ?A system performs as it is intended.? System reliability is a measure of the degree to which a system performs as it was designed to do, as opposed to doing something else (like producing a wrong answer or providing no answer). Definitions of reliability will therefore vary according to the definition of what the system is supposed to do. In general, if a system is in an unreliable state then it is ?unavailable? for its intended work tasks. Scale: Mean time for a defined system to experience defined failure type under defined conditions.

1. Means of compliance: Fault tolerance.
2. Reliability: Analysis, Requirements.
3. Deterministic: Functionality, Resources bound, Time bound.
4. Maturity.
5. Recoverability.


Security / Risk analysis

In order to be able to respond appropriately to a wide range of different incidents, detailed security-related risk analyses need to be undertaken. These will need to include all systems and personnel involved in the security system as a whole. The objective will be to achieve a set of multi-layer, fault-tolerant, aviation security measures, which can be implemented within the essential parameters of operating aircraft and airports. Complexities include the different responsibilities of airports, airlines and government agencies.

1. Vulnerability assessment methodologies.
2. Security metrics (e.g. US Total Architecture for Aviation Security) to "score" various security systems.
3. Security audits (of airlines, airports).
4. Threat assessments.


Aeronautical Software Engineering

Software engineering is an engineering discipline, which is concerned with all aspects of software production. It covers theories, methods and tools for professional software development.Software engineers should adopt a systematic and organised approach to their work and use appropriate tools and techniques depending on the problem to be solved, the development constraints and the resources available. Software engineering is therefore concerned with the practicalities of developing and delivering useful software.

1. Requirements capture.
2. Object-oriented analysis & design.
3. Software implementation.
4. Software testing: Integration testing, White/Black box test, Code coverage.
5. Software verification & validation.
6. Software certification: software safety, redundancy, built-in test.
7. Software maintenance.


Advanced information processing

Collection of computing methods, techniques and tools, for processing of large quantities of raw data into information, which is essential to the function to be supported and for presentation of this information in a clear and convenient way.

1. Radar data processing.
2. Multi sensor data fusion.
3. Real-time systems.
4. Command, Control, Communications & Intelligence (C3I).
5. Situation monitoring.
6. Alarm management.


Collaborative Decision Making

The operational philosophy and associated technologies and procedures that enable the aviation industry to collaboratively manage strategic responses to aviation components operational constraints in a manner that balances operational efficiency with aviation safety.

1. Multi-agent systems.
2. Task modelling.
3. Negotiation strategies.
4. Agent-based distributed architecture.
5. Information distribution.


Simulator environments & Virtual reality

Virtual Reality is the experience of being in a synthetic environment and the perceiving and interacting through sensors and effectors, actively and passively, with it and the objects in it, as if they were real. Virtual Reality technology allows the user to perceive and experience sensory contact and interact dynamically with such contact in any or all modalities.

1. Training Environment: real-time geographically distributed flight-simulations.
2. Mission preparation, rehearsal & evaluation.
3. Concept development.
4. Materiel design.
5. Materiel testing.
6. Personnel selection.
7. Task analysis.
8. Man-in-the-loop simulation.


Decision Support Systems

Decision support focuses on the area of supporting the user in making complex decisions. Decision support facilities consists of mechanisms to sense the outside world and present this in an understandable format to the user and of mechanisms to support the user in performing complex tasks. Improved sensor technology and Multi-sensor data fusion techniques have led to better information availability and an increased situation awareness of pilots, air traffic controllers, and other users of aerospace systems. On-board decision support functions for pilots, decision support systems for air traffic controllers, and so on, are becoming of crucial importance for the completion of their missions. Links with 'ATM automated support'.

1. User task modelling.
2. (Intelligent) user interface.
3. Situation assessment.
4. Planning & monitoring (Sequencing, Time scheduling, Mission planning support, Flow planning, Resource allocation, Feedback control, Guidance).
5. Crew assistant.
6. Traffic flow optimisation.


Information management & Knowledge management (Methods & tools)

Management of organisational information and knowledge helps creating business value and generating a competitive advantage. It therefore helps to create and retain greater value from core business competencies. As such knowledge management is the discipline dedicated to more deliberate means of people creating and sharing knowledge to make the right decisions and take the right actions.It combines the processes of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge. (Ref. Davenport 1994). Making and storing static representations of a dynamic environment is done in information management.

1. Knowledge gathering.
2. Knowledge representation.
3. Knowledge retrieval.
4. Product data management systems.
5. Ontology.
6. Competence management.
7. Web technology.
8. Semantic web.
9. Data mining.


Autonomous operation

A system (operation) that is capable of performing a task in full autonomy showing autonomous behaviour. This means that the system should be able to act without the direct intervention of humans (or other agents) and should have control over its own actions and internal state.

1. Characteristics of an autonomous system:
1.1. Autonomous behaviour: The system should be able to act without the direct intervention of humans (or other agents) and should have control over its own actions and internal state.
1.2. Reactive behaviour: The system should perceive their environment and respond in a timely fashion to changes that occur in it.
1.3. Pro-active behaviour / Goal oriented behaviour: The system should not simply act in response to their environment, they should be able to exhibit opportunistic, goal-directed behaviour and take the initiative where appropriate.
1.4. Social behaviour: The system should be able to interact, when they deem appropriateFurther characteristics:
2. Mission planning.
3. Sensor data processing: processing step before data fusion.
4. Autonomous decision making.
5. Expert systems.
6. Threat avoidance / Conflict resolution.


Development of operational research methods & tools

Research to aid the evaluation and analysis of OR techniques for application to aviation issues. The use of operational research (OR) methods and tools to optimise the performance of a system has been well-proven. By systematic investigation of the characteristics of a system (such as the aviation transport system) and the modelling of its salient aspects, insights can be gained into the performance of the system under different circumstances. The power of "what if?" modelling enables exploration of different strategies in a controlled environment.

1. Stakeholder analysis.
2. Development of OR methods.
3. Development of OR tools.
4. Validation of OR tools.


Development of synthetic environment & virtual reality tools

The development of tools to produce virtual reality (VR) and/or synthetic environments (SE). Research to evaluate and analyse the use of VR/SE systems as tools for design, development, selection and training. The use of these tools is dealt with in separate domains.

1. General systems engineering aspects of VR/SE development.
2. Development methodologies for virtual reality (VR)/synthetic environment (SE) tools.
3. Development of VR/SE tools in aircraft context - for cockpit/aircrew.
4. Development of VR/SE tools in aircraft context - for passenger cabin/aircrew.
5. Development of VR/SE tools in aircraft context - for cargo area.
6. Development of VR/SE tools in airport context - for passenger handling area.
7. Development of VR/SE tools in airport context - for cargo/baggage area.
8. Development of VR/SE tools in airport context - for aircraft movement area.
9. Development of VR/SE tools in ATM context - for controllers.
10. Understand the physiological and psychological interactions between humans and VR/SE.


Aircraft Performance Assessment

The analysis of aircraft performance enables optimum decisions to be reached about the use of the aircraft, in terms of the loading (passengers and baggage/cargo), utilisation, and maintenance.

1. Development of aircraft modelling and analysis methods and tools.
2. Modelling and analysis of aircraft capacity.
3. Modelling and analysis of passenger handling.
4. Modelling and analysis of cargo handling.


Airport Performance Assessment

The analysis of airport operations enables optimum decisions to be reached about the design, layout and operation of all aspects of the airport - including aircraft movement, passenger handling, and baggage/cargo handling. This should enable the passenger experience to be improved.

1. Development of airport operations modelling and analysis methods and tools.
2. Modelling and analysis of aircraft handling/capacity.
3. Modelling and analysis of passenger handling processes and procedures (e.g. checking-in, immigration, boarding etc).
4. Modelling and analysis of cargo handling.


Business modelling

The analysis of aviation business matters enables optimum decisions to be reached about the charging policy, route planning, frequency of flying and capacity offered on different routes. It enables cost-effective decisions to be taken in the context of the appropriate regulatory environment.

1. Development of business modelling methods and tools.
2. Use of business modelling methods and tools (e.g. yield/revenue management).
3. Analysis of regulatory aspects of aviation.


Numerical Models (including Fast Time Simulation)

Numerical models and fast time simulators used in R&D. Includes common software modules and software libraries.

1. Numerical models.
2. Mathematical models.
3. System dynamics model.
4. Faster-than-real-time time simulators.
5. Software issues - common software modules, software libraries.


Real Time Simulators

Architecture of overall integration simulators, including user requirements and specifications. Also includes simulators that are used for R&D purposes, and common software libraries.

1. Real-time simulator..
2. Experimental simulator..
3. Software issues - common software modules, software libraries.


General Purpose Equipment

General purpose and miscellaneous equipment that forms part of the R&D technical infrastructure. Includes flying laboratories & experimental aircraft.

1. R&D equipment:
2. Test equipment:
3. Measurement equipment:
4. Development platforms - flying laboratory, experimental aircraft:
5. Laboratory equipment, calibration equipment:


Reference Data for R&D Use and live/RT data Use

The capture and analysis of background information and reference data that is likely to be used on a range of projects - an R&D information resource.

1. Reference Data (bibliographies, abstracts service, statistical information):
2. Development of libraries of statistics, reference data, bibliographies etc:
3. Ground systems information (library, airport database, aircraft database, live data distribution and recording from ATM system - radar, RDPS, FDPS, CFMU, network exchange messages...).
4. Airborne systems information ( ACARS messages) and AOC systems, aircraft performance statistics, traffic samples and air movement data.



Provision of verification and validation methodologies that contribute to system flexibility in a cost-effective way. This leads to reductions in the validation element of RDT&E cycle

1. Validation method, methodologies, procedures, metrics, tools.
2. Hierarchical methodologies.
3. Studies of certification issues for new technologies and systems.
4. system validation through modelling and simulation.
5. integration and validation of technologies. 6. Concept validation.
7. Collection, analysis and validation of test results.
8. Meta-models.
9. Coverage-based, fault-based, error-based testing and validation.
10. Requirement specification.
11. Test plans - acceptance, system and sub-system integration, module-level.


Large scale validation Experiments

Experiments and trials conducted for the purpose of validation. Validation is a risk-reduction activity, especially for complex high-consequence systems. Certification may largely, but not exclusively, be based upon digital techniques based on simulated and validation techniques.

1. Validation experiments, trials.
2. Pre-operational trials.
3. Trials - air/ground, ground/air, air/air.
4. Pilot installations to ease the large-scale validation of proposed solutions.
5. Validation of measurement tools and models.
6. Functional mock-ups.
7. Validation at component, sub-system and system levels.
8. Operational validation by flight testing.


Large scale validation Platforms

Large-scale validation rigs necessary to establish and validate the integration of technologies and performance parameters. Links with 'Flight / Ground Tests'. Validation platforms may conduct validation at component, sub-system and system levels.

1. Ground validation benches.
2. Aircraft equipped for test and validation in an operational context.
3. Technology demonstrators, technology integration platforms (TIPs).
4. Integrated platforms for system development, safety analysis and certification.
5. Wind tunnels.
6. Prototyping tools.
7. Digital mock-ups.
8. Validation vehicles for powerplants, avionics, aircraft structure, aircraft systems, flight software.
9. Combined validation platforms for multiple technology programmes.
10. Advanced experimental testbeds.