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Welcome to the Future Flight Standards Hub

The Future Flight Standards Hub is designed to accelerate the development of Future Flight demonstrators and wider industry innovation based on emerging best practice, knowledge sharing, and standards support.

Consortium Mission

SATE is based at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)'s Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Islands. Phase one of the SATE project allowed HIAL, with support from partners, to create the UK's first low-carbon aviation test centre running from a commercial airport. This phase of the project expands on the work of the original project to create a UK Centre for Excellence of Sustainable Aviation Systems. This will enable SATE to host pre-commercial demonstrations of novel aviation technologies with proven use cases to commercialise clean innovation in a real-world environment. Use cases will include scheduled airline route, offshore energy services, NHS activities, island and remote region deliveries and environmental survey and inspection. The use case demonstrations to be undertaken as part of the project will have a positive impact on island communities. They will improve quality of life, and address issues of social exclusion and access deprivation (including access to health services). Within the SATE project and partner organisations, at least 45 new highly skilled jobs will be created. Many of the roles created will be based in remote communities around Scotland representing high-value roles.

Consortium Details

Based at Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Islands, the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) is the UK's first low-carbon aviation test centre embedded at a commercial airport.

SATE brings together an international consortium of industry partners, public sector bodies and academia who will work with a range of regional businesses and stakeholders to apply state-of-the-art aviation technology to deliver targeted economic growth.

SATE's overarching objectives include:

  • Demonstrating the next generation of air services
  • Ensuring airports operations are ready to support sustainable aviation requirements
  • Improving regional connectivity
  • Supporting Scottish Government's ambition for a Highlands and Islands Net Zero Aviation region by 2040

SATE has already established itself at the forefront of future aviation. Recent successes include Ampaire demonstrating the first hybrid-electric flights in Scotland and Windracers trialling autonomous flights for delivering Royal Mail cargo between Kirkwall and North Ronaldsay. These practical outcomes have raised the profile of SATE, putting the project on the global stage.

SATE will now expand to create the UK Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Regional Aviation Systems, enabling pre-commercial demonstrations of novel aviation technologies with proven use cases to commercialise clean innovation in a real-world environment.

Use cases will include:

  • Scheduled airline routes
  • Offshore energy services
  • National Health Service activities
  • Island / remote region deliveries
  • Environmental survey and inspection

Implementation of these will require advances in technology, regulation, and policy. These are reflected in the cross-cutting activities which include:

  • Establishing a dedicated test environment airspace
  • Matchmaking technology to community and business needs
  • Accelerating technology innovation
  • Mapping out the future Highlands and Islands aviation system

Kirkwall Airport is one of eleven airports operated by HIAL and an ideal test environment location due to the variety of operated routes (including short hops to inter-island airfields operated by Orkney Islands Council). The wider project team includes leading technology developers ZeroAvia, Windracers and FlareBright. EMEC brings expertise in green-hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, and HITRANS will lead on connectivity into the wider transport system. The socio-economic impact of a new regional-aviation system will be supported by UHI, Connected Places Catapult (CPC) and Aracadis. This project will also stimulate inward investment and supply chain growth which is a key responsibility for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Project highlights will include working with the CAA to approve a regional sandbox airspace, establishment of a UAV hub-and-spoke delivery network, a first hydrogen-propelled regional-aircraft flight and an international demonstration flight to Norway.

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