Interview with Janusz Sznajder – Institute of Aviation in Poland
Janusz Sznajder is currently coordinator of Clean Sky STARLET project at the Institute of Aviation in Poland
Questions & answers
Our Institute is a research institute collaborating with manufacturers in the field of aviation, as well as with universities. In the past its main role was to provide expertise for Polish airplane manufacturers, mainly for the PZL concern. For this purpose several research departments have been established, dealing with aerodynamics (experimental and computational), power systems, structural design and tests, avionics, etc. Institute of Aviation has three wind tunnels (low speed, 5m diameter, trisonic, 0.4x0.6m test section, and low-speed, 1.5m diameter). Other important facilities include undercarriage test stands (test benches), equipment for testing aeroelastic response of aircraft structures, and test benches for fatigue tests of aircraft structures.
In the recent years more and more important becomes collaboration with leading engine producers, mainly General Electric, through the Engineering Design Center, creating several hundred jobs in the last decade and partnership with other European partners through collaboration in research projects. Our collaboration with universities includes the participation in scientific projects and support for students' Master of Science and PhD projects. There is also a design group, dedicated to ideas which may open new market areas with innovative concepts. They are working currently on a design of a solar-powered, unmanned observation aircraft, novel gyroplane and unmanned helicopter.
I can add that for a Polish research institution or a company the value of collaborating with European programmes is in the possibility of working on new ideas and solutions which can be brought to a more mature stage. Concerning our activities in Clean Sky, we are in the Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft ITD and we are working on solutions concerning active wing load control. Our work just starts at the moment, so we have by now some preliminary results, that we hope, could help in working out the details of the solutions that we are working on.
Our collaboration with Clean Sky is for us extremely important because it provides us the possibility of gaining new experience in the research deciding of the competitiveness of the European aeronautical industry. Our participation in the European projects has always been fruitful for us, creating basis for many innovative concepts and gaining knowledge in the areas important for the leading aeronautical manufacturers, such as Airbus. An example for this may be the Helix project, from 5-th EU Framework Programme around 2002, when an innovative high-lift system (Segmented Extension Slotted Flap), designed by the Institute of Aviation proved the most successful among several other concepts and was tested experimentally in Airbus and QuinetiQ wind tunnels in Filton and Bristol. We hope, that through the work in the STARLET project we will get more expertise for the collaboration with leading aircraft designers and producers.
Clean Sky is focused on the effectiveness and environmental impact of the aircraft design. These subjects will be shaping the direction of all future designs, because of more and more restricted environmental regulations and the need to be more efficient with the use of traditional fuels. Therefore, it is very advantageous to participate in this research, because the knowledge gained through this work will be highly productive in the future development of any company.
It is hard to give a specific advice to institutions working in diferent areas of technology. The participation in European programmes, such as Clean Sky helps in designing innovative technologies, something that is necessary for Polish industries, which, according to experts' opinions still rely too much on conservative and obsolete technologies.
I think that for the attracting more future partners, especially from the industry, some detailed informations about the programme and the achievements of its participants in aviation magazines, such as Flight, Aviation Week, would be very helpful.
Definitely. The new jobs in the Institute of Aviation will be mainly in the engine design area, as the collaboration with General Electric is progressing. Those will be engineering jobs - we plan to create 300 jobs this year.