PPLANE, a consortium of 13 international partners, including NLR, today announced its launch of the Personal Air Transport System, a new paradigm in air transport.
The personal air vehicle is analogous to the private car in terms of accessibility and ease of operation, yet delivers the benefits of speed and routing efficiencies that is only possible via a direct-to-destination flight. Some recent studies conclude that smaller aircraft exhibiting individual characteristics will play a greater role in air transportation in order to avoid increasing congestion on European roads. The Personal Plane (PPlane) project emphasizes environmentally responsible design, including noise and gas emission reduction, green propulsion, and energy efficiency, and is expected to increase savings and sustainability on one hand, and decrease overall traffic environmental impact on the other, resulting from a more efficient travel. The duration of this European Commission (EC) 7th framework project is 30 months with a total budget of 4.4 M Euro divided among its 13 partners. The NLR in PPlane focuses on human factors. According to EC project officer, Mr. José Hernandez, PPlane is congruent with the EC Aeronautics strategy of pioneering and revolutionary projects that will pave the road for future European based air transport systems. PPlane is partially based on the findings of previous European R&D projects, including Out-of-the-Box, EPATS, SATS and EQuiPT, and also SESAR, NextGen and INOUI. PPlane main design and selection criteria include: Security and safety, Automation and Control, Environment, and Human Factors. In each of these domains, ambitious quantitative targets are set including a drastic reduction of noise and emission, substantial increase in fuel efficiency, a safety level comparable to the one achieved by conventional airliners and low cost similar to commuter airline ticket. The project is led by Claude Le Tallec of ONERA (France) with the support of Dr. Moshe Harel of Intergam Communications (Israel). PPlanes consortium includes organisations from 11 European countries from different aviation domains in industry, research and academy including the Israel Aerospace Industries (Israel), AIRNET (Slovenia), Bologna University and CIRA (Italy), Brno University (Czech Republic), Warsaw University of Technology (Poland), German Aerospace Center DLR (Germany), Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial INTA (Spain), National Aerospace Laboratory NLR (Netherlands), University of Patras (Greece), and REA-TECH Engineering (Hungary). By joining forces, PPlane partners will propose directions for future European RTD actions and funding of those concepts found to yield the greatest social, environmental and economic benefit to the community. Additional external stakeholders, such as regulatory experts, will be invited onto the project advisory board to assist the consortium in strategic decisions and dissemination of the findings. Successful introduction of Personal Air Transport Systems to European transport will ensure mobility of people and goods, stimulating safe and secure commuting, while reducing unwanted effects of traffic congestion, including environmental damage, social exclusion and expense.