Concept and Objectives:

The upstream FFAST project addresses the topic Design Systems and Tools (AAT.2008.4.1.1) by developing, implementing and assessing a range of numerical simulation technologies to accelerate future aircraft design. Critical load identification methods and reduced order modelling techniques developed will potentially provide a step change in the efficiency and accuracy of the dynamic aeroelastic loads process.

Identifying the flight conditions that lead to the maximum loads on aircraft structures and introducing higher fidelity methods at these conditions will reduce the cost and turn around time of the loads process of conventional aircraft. This will lead to significant improvements to product development and manufacture, supporting the ACARE 2020 targets. In addition, innovative designs required for green aircraft can be evaluated more rapidly and at lower risk. Reduced order modelling techniques offer the potential for further step changes in the efficiency of the aeroelastic loads process. These offer the accuracy of high fidelity methods at a cost close to that of the current low fidelity methods.

The target for the FFAST project is to demonstrate a speed up of 2 to 3 orders of magnitude over high fidelity methods. To meet this target research will be carried out in work packages to: improve identification of critical loads; develop reduced order modelling strategies for unsteady aerodynamic and aeroelastic simulation. A work package dedicated to validation and evaluation on a set of industrially relevant test cases will judge the success of the technologies developed and give industry confidence to make the necessary pull-through investment. Strong industrial support of FFAST allows direct exploitation of the results via focused future investment, the solution data base and early release software. The dissemination of FFAST to a wider audience is vital and will be achieved via a website, targeted lectures and workshops, conferences and journal publications.

FFAST Results in brief:

Optimised aircraft loading simulations:

EU-funded scientists developed stream-lined structural models for aircraft structural loading. Decreasing computational time while enhancing efficiency and accuracy will reduce design costs and development time for improved emissions reductions.

Detailed structural models of aircraft and their components decrease the risk of design modification at a later date and reduce the need for expensive tunnel testing. Load cases due to flight manoeuvres and dynamic gusts are not known a priori. Therefore, a large number of test conditions are required to accurately capture maximum loads and assess the stresses experienced by in-service aircraft.

Currently, every load calculation cycle takes more than six weeks and previous experience is of limited value in modelling new aircraft configurations without compromising safety. EU-funded scientists developed simulation technologies with better accuracy and reduced computational load through work on the project ‘Future fast aeroelastic simulation technologies’ (FFAST).

Researchers focused on three key aspects to accelerate future aircraft design. The starting point was improved identification of the flight conditions resulting in maximum loads on aircraft structures. This was followed by extraction of reduced-order models (ROMs) of unsteady aerodynamic and aeroelastic loading from more complex full-order models. Finally, the ROMs were used to accelerate full-order calculations. The result is much higher fidelity data at a cost close to that of currently used low fidelity methods.

All methods developed within the scope of FFAST provide significant computational savings compared to full-order methods. Although different methods were developed by different partners, combining these technologies will speed-up the design process by more than 90%. The end-result would be improved ability to design greener aircraft resulting in reduced emissions with lower design costs, ensuring the competitiveness of the EU aerospace industry.

Public Documents

Periodic Report Summary
Periodic Report Summary 2
Final Report Summary