Flight test and evaluation
NRC Aerospace is involved in several programs that assess rotorcraft handling qualities, in co-operation with government, industry, and educational institutions. NRC Aerospace has the expertise to assess how new or modified equipment, new control augmentation laws/theories, or degraded flight conditions can affect the performance of the pilot and the aircraft. In many cases, these assessments require the development of novel test procedures and equipment as well as the instruction of evaluators in flight test techniques and evaluation methods.
To carry out its studies, NRC Aerospace maintains and operates a small fleet of aircraft that includes:
The NRC Bell 412 Advanced Systems Research Aircraft (ASRA) is configured as a x-DOF simulator for research in airborne simulation, handling qualities, advanced controls, active controls and pilot-vehicle interfaces.
ASRA has been outfitted with advanced technology that makes it an ideal platform for research into digital fly-by-wire control systems, precise guidance and navigation, and active control systems. Advanced fly-by-wire features give ASRA a powerful variable stability and control capability, and an airborne simulation capability for air vehicle design and operational research and development.
As a sophisticated research test bed, ASRA allows researchers to investigate the impact on situational awareness, safety and mission performance of new control, guidance, navigation and communication technologies. The aircraft will also serve to test advanced pilot-vehicle interfaces such as smart displays, helmet-mounted displays, synthetic vision systems, integrated hand controllers, and direct voice input.
NRC Aerospace has acquired an international reputation in rotorcraft flight mechanics research, with many years of in-depth experience in the field. ASRA is the third generation of NRC's helicopter-based airborne simulators.
Bell 205 (4-DOF simulator)
The highly modified fly-by-wire Bell 205A-1 helicopter is configured as a 4-DOF simulator for research in airborne simulation, handling qualities and advanced controls.
Supplementing the Bell 205 are a VAX-based data playback and analysis system with sophisticated graphics display capability, a close support computing system for software development and testing, and a special display development facility (DDF) for ground-based validation of advanced cockpit technologies to be demonstrated in the airborne simulator.
NRC Aerospace supports Canadian avionics manufacturers by collaborating with them on advanced technologies of potential use in the modern helicopter cockpit. Side-arm controllers, programmable head down displays, speech I/O and helmet-mounted displays are some of the technologies being demonstrated and perfected in IAR's airborne simulator.
The Bell 205 has also provided key data crucial to the development of the Aeronautical Design Standard for Helicopter Handling Qualities ADS-33C. The realistic environment the simulator provides is unsurpassed in the handling qualities community.
The NRC Aerospace technical team has many years of experience in rotorcraft-based airborne simulation, and has acquired an international reputation in rotorcraft flight mechanics research.
The NRC Bell 206 is operated in a standard factory configuration. It is used for testing systems in flight.
The Convair 580 aircraft is a twin engine medium size pressurized aircraft capable of long distance operation carrying several racks of instrumentation and up to a dozen research crew members. It is also a multi-purpose flying laboratory supporting projects in atmospheric studies, gradient aeromagnetics, advanced navigation, spotlight synthetic aperture radar, and precision aircraft positioning using differential global positioning system (DGPS) techniques.
The Convair has been equipped with specialized instrumentation to support its role as a versatile atmospheric research aircraft. Projects have been undertaken to increase Canadian scientific knowledge of low-level smog in urban areas, cloud physics, cloud chemistry and aircraft icing.
NRC Aerospace is constantly developing and improving the Convair's on-board installations. It combines project-specific research instrumentation and a suite of standard research support capabilities that include high-speed data acquisition systems, multi-camera video recording systems, free-stream chemistry sampling inlets, multiple navigation sensors, wing-mounted pylons, and wingtip-mounted pods.
The Convair is backed by an experienced technical team who conduct focused, responsive airborne research and experimentation to meet the needs of a broad client community.
The Twin Otter aircraft is a twin engine un-pressurized turboprop high wing STOL aircraft capable of 2-3 hour operations with a moderate amount of instrumentation. It is also a world-class, fully instrumented airborne platform for a wide range of atmospheric and biospheric studies, and for flight mechanics and flight systems development.
By participating with government agencies and other collaborators in important field experiments such as airborne investigations of the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, the Twin Otter contributes important scientific information to Canadian and international studies.
Research equipment installations on the Twin Otter include real-time digital computing and displays, modern navigation and guidance systems, state-of-the-art air data sensing, a control surface position measurement system, incident and reflected solar radiation systems, weather radar, video recording suite, laser particle spectrometers and a satellite simulator.
The Twin Otter is supported by a research team experienced in designing and implementing airborne field experiments of an international calibre. Clients can count on NRC Aerospace for responsive and focused research that meets all their needs.
The Falcon 20 is a twin engine business jet, capable of relatively high speed and altitude operations with a small complement of instrumentation and research crew. It has been modified for use in microgravity experiments requiring parabolic flight trajectories and equipment operating for periods at low g. A multi-purpose platform, it is currently used for two major research programs. These are the testing and evaluation of precision instrument approaches using augmented GPS systems for guidance, and the determination of aircraft performance characteristics on winter contaminated runways. With an extensive onboard data acquisition system, the aircraft can also be used for airborne geoscience studies, avionics research and aircraft based sensor research.
NRC Aerospace has developed the Falcon 20 primarily as a general purpose fixed wing flight mechanics research facility. The aircraft is well instrumented to support a wide variety of avionics and airborne sensor research projects of interest to the Canadian aerospace and airborne geoscience communities.
The Falcon 20 is backed by NRC's solid experience in flight testing and airborne experimentation. Clients can count on a research staff with the knowledge and expertise to address a broad range of research challenges.
The Harvard is a post-war single engine propeller tail-dragger aircraft used extensively by the RCAF for flight training. It is capable of high-g "aerobatic" manoeuvers and carries 2 pilots and a small instrumentation package in the rear seat.
The NRC Aerospace Harvard Mark IV will test-fly advanced flat-panel displays
The NRC Harvard Mark IV was the first aircraft entirely built in Canada. It has now been refurbished in preparation for its new role as a trainer and experimental platform for avionics research.
The T-33 is a 1960s vintage "fighter" jet used extensively by the CAF/RCAF for flight training requirements. It is capable of high performance, high altitude operations with 2 pilots and a small instrument package.
This high speed (to 500 KIAS), high G (-3.0 to +7.33), fully instrumented T-33 research aircraft is equipped for:
- Pressure standard calibrations: precise in-flight static pressure measurement
- In-flight turbulence measurement: accurate three-axis gust measurement and
- Flight mechanics research: accurate measurement of aircraft motion versus control input.
Instrumentation sensors include:
- 3-axis accelerations, attitudes and rates
- Flight and engine control positions
- Longitudinal and lateral stick forces (rear cockpit)
- Angles of attack and sideslip
- Static and dynamic pressures
- Total temperature and provisions for additional sensors.
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