MIAMI – British multinational aerospace components firm GKN Aerospace is developing sustainable technologies for the future of aviation industries. The company will lead three ground-breaking joint projects as part of the Future Flight Challenge. All Projects will be conducted from the latest £32M Industrial Technology Hub in Bristol.

The Future Flight Challenge is a four-year, £125m ISCF initiative of UK Research and Innovation, to create more efficient aviation solutions. Firstly, focuses are on production of advanced integrated aviation systems to allow new classes of electric and autonomous air vehicles.

Minister for Business, Paul Scully, said, “We’re investing in ambitious projects to make flying more sustainable and ensure passengers have greater choice about how they travel. Pioneering research supported by government funding will help the UK build back greener from the pandemic, remain at the forefront of aerospace research and development, and provide global leadership in the next aviation revolution. I look forward to seeing such proposals take flight.”

With 15 partners and an initial funding of £4.5m, the projects concentrate on electrification, autonomous commercial flight and aerospace connectivity solutions within the UK. Certainly, the projects aims to preserve the UK as key player in the forefront of technical advancement in sustainable aviation.


Recently Electrical Vertical take-off and Landings Vehicle (e-VTOL) boomed and are under experiment to segment themselves in market. Likewise, ‘Skybus’ is exploring a new transport network, based on large-scale eVTOL, capable of transporting 30 to 50 passengers.

Moreover, it aims to expand the idea of “Park and Ride” within highly congested roads into air transportation. Consequently, it removes the 2-Dimensional limitations of existing surface transport modes, including cars, trains and buses.

This will provide immediate advantages in terms of shortened travel time at competitive fares as well as minimizing congestion on ground transport. Therefore minimizing average travel time for all passengers operating on these routes regardless of their preferred mode of transport. GKN Aerospace will lead the Skybus with the help of partners: Swanson Aviation Consultancy, Pascall+Watson and Connected Places Catapult.

Safe Flight

Development of unmanned and autonomous systems are fasting forward. However, uncertainties remains about integrating these systems safely into airspace. ‘Safe Flight, tackle technical issues in terms of incorporating a variety of state-of-the-art technology into real-world cases.

More importantly, it addresses the fundamental requirement and direct path to certification and regulatory approvals for operations of such systems. GKN Aerospace will partners with University of Bath, 3UG Autonomous Systems and Callen-Lenz to advance the Secure Flight.

Photo: GKN Aerospace


NAPKIN will model and pilot a UK-wide sustainable aviation network encouraging zero carbon emissions. That is to say, it provides accessibility where surface infrastructure is missing. Also it aims to UK industry development and productivity.

Heath-row Airport will Manage the NAPKIN in collaboration with Technological and academic partners. Key Aerospace players taking parts are, GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce, Highlands & Islands Airports, Deloitte, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions. Academic Partner are London City Airport, University of Southampton, University College London and Cranfield University.

Max Brown, VP Technology GKN Aerospace, said, “We are committed to a more sustainable future for aviation and our technologies will keep us at the forefront of this challenge. No one company can achieve this alone and these Future Flight Challenge programmes highlight the importance of collaboration in achieving this aim.”

“It is a great example of public-private collaboration as well as the importance of Government in supporting the aerospace industry, through it’s industrial strategy. We look forward to working together to deliver the next generation of sustainable air travel.” 

Featured image: The Future Flight Challenge