A key driver for the aerospace industry is the development of more efficient aircraft that have much less effect upon the environment in terms of both emissions and noise. The EU is meeting this challenge through initiatives such as ACARE 2020-VISION and FLIGHTPATH2050, which aim to reduce aircraft C02 emissions by 75%, NOx by 90% and perceived noise by 65%, compared to a typical new aircraft in 2000. New aircraft flying in 20-30 years time will contain many novel technologies to achieve these goals, and may look very different from the conventional designs that have been used over the past 50 years.
This lecture will start by reviewing some of the rich heritage of aircraft research and development in Bristol, in particular Sir George White, who formed the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1910, and also key research developments, including those of Pugsley and Collar on aeroelasticity, and Robertson and Farrar on aircraft structures, through to the present day.
Current research at the University of Bristol will be highlighted, focussed on enabling future aircraft to be lighter and also to achieve optimal aerodynamic shape throughout the flight envelope. Finally, some thoughts will be given to current blue-sky technologies that may have a dramatic effect upon future aircraft designs.