In one century, aeronautical engineers have taken up extraordinary challenges. After inventing aviation, they made air transport very safe, then accessible to all. We’re no longer surprised, but fifty years ago who would have predicted that it would not only be faster and more comfortable, but also safer and less expensive to take a plane rather than a car or train when traveling distances greater than 1,000 km?
Air transport has made equally impressive progress in energy efficiency. The latest aircraft such as the A350 can fly at 800km/h while consuming less than 2.5 l per 100 km per passenger. Aviation’s contribution to global CO2 emissions has thus remained marginal (approximately 2.5%, or one-fortieth of all emissions). But that is not enough if we want aviation to continue its development. After inventing safe, democratic air transport, the aviation sector now has to decarbonize it. This is a new challenge, one requiring as much ambition as previous challenges. New aircraft will have to be invented, working with all aspects of technology and our engineers’ creativity.
Technological opportunities have been identified: ever lighter materials and structures, refined aerodynamics, new aeropropulsive integration, electrification of systems and actuators, with a particular challenge in the area of engines and the replacement of fossil jet fuel with other energy carriers. A considerable amount of work remains to be done to bring all these technologies to maturity and to ensure the level of reliability and safety required for use in air transport. This is the job for a new generation of engineers!
The coronavirus crisis is turning into an opportunity for the aviation sector, and especially for young engineers. Work needs to begin immediately – this is an extraordinary challenge for our design offices, a challenge for the next 20 years! This has already been well understood by the engineering students all over the world and the number of applicants for our masters programs has never been higher than in 2020.
ISAE-SUPAERO is playing its role in foreseeing these changes and providing its students with the keys to invent the world of tomorrow
It is in this spirit that ISAE-SUPAERO is adopting a renewed strategy in the area of sustainable development. The specific skills found at the Institute in terms of training, research and innovation mean that it can grasp the problem of air transport’s impact on global warming and significantly contribute to finding solutions. Since 1909, ISAE-SUPAERO has been training high-level engineers and managers who have brought about advances in the aerospace industry. Our current students are those who will meet the challenges of decarbonized aviation, which is why our programs are evolving to prepare them for the task. We have always educated creative, rigorous, committed engineers who are capable of mastering complex systems.
By also providing training in the challenges of sustainable development and the energy transition, we are preparing our graduates to build a sustainable society and to invent the decarbonized air transport of tomorrow.
For years our research has been directed at future generations of aircraft and mobility for tomorrow. We are working on questions of propulsion, aerodynamics, materials and eco-design for all systems, but also on intelligent man-machine collaboration. Our students are in immediate contact with our laboratories and many of them contribute directly to R&D projects.
The ecological transition in air transport is an exciting challenge for a new generation of engineers. ISAE-SUPAERO is mobilized to give them the keys to take up this challenge successfully.
President of ISAE-SUPAERO
Dean of Masters programs