The dialogue between several European wind tunnel operators and research organisations regarding the concept of a Network of Excellence (NoE) around wind tunnel activities started in December 2002. This initiative was the result of the policy of the European Commission to integrate and strengthen the European Research Area in Aeronautics and Space under the auspices of the 6th Framework Programme. The NoE is one of the legal instruments for which the EC may allocate funds. The plan for the current NoE European Windtunnel Association is based on the view that building formal long-term relationships between wind tunnel operators and research organisations would provide direct technical and scientific synergy effects and competitiveness improvements for all associated partners in the European Community. The plan for EWA was submitted to the EC in 2004. Its intention is to combine the skills and research capacities of 14 member organisations from 8 European countries. These include 3 industrial organisations, 3 commercial wind tunnel operators, 7 research organisations and one organisation for post-doctoral education. The European Windtunnel Association officially started on 1 April 2004 and will have a duration of five years.
The goal of the European Windtunnel Association is to form a Network of Excellence for aeronautical applications and related advanced measuring technologies with a management structure and a joint programme of activities. In a four-step progressive approach (Preparation, Harmonisation, Implementation, Presentation of Integration) over a period of five years it will integrate and strengthen European aeronautical research by building lasting relationships and interdependencies between the major European wind tunnels for aeronautical applications and developers of advanced measuring technologies for aeronautical applications. Thus, EWA will be able to provide research institutes and the aerospace industry with a comprehensive and harmonised set of better and extended services with full coverage of their possible needs. The network will also establish close links to leading European universities in the field of aeronautics in order to provide a fast transfer of new ideas. The benefits achieved by the co-operation activities will be disseminated to industrial end users inside and outside of the association by means of exchange of personnel, workshops and presentations of advanced measurement technologies performed in industrial wind tunnels.