Structural full-scale aerospace testing facilities

The NRC's structural full-scale testing (SFST) facilities serve commercial and military clients with their proof-of-concept demonstration and certification needs, including static, fatigue, durability and damage tolerance tests ranging from entire airframes down to the subsystem, component and material level. The NRC operates several concurrent large tests for our clients, including major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), within its facility in Ottawa (L×W×H): 25 × 18 × 7 m (80 × 60 × 20 ft). Other test capabilities provided in conjunction with full-scale testing include ballistic testing, environmental testing (temperature and humidity) and fire exposure under loads (performed at NRC's National Fire Test facility in Almonte, Ontario). To meet larger test requirements, the NRC has access to local large aircraft hangars (L×W×H): 40 × 42 × 9 m (130 × 140 × 30 ft) and 49 × 30 × 7 m (160 × 100 × 23 ft).

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What we offer

The SFST team works with clients to support their testing needs for aeronautical product development and government certification requirements within clients' commitments and time constraints. During ground tests, the SFST team can implement new technologies, particularly in the field of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), which can then be transitioned to flight tests and fleet operations.

The NRC's SFST competencies throughout the test life cycle include:

Our facilities include:

  • many hydraulic actuators, load cells and servo valves of capacities ranging from 1.1 to 220 kips (5 to 1000 kN)
  • four multi-channel fatigue and static test control systems
  • over 300 channels of data acquisition
  • hydraulic power supplies up to 530 l/min at 20,000 kPa (140 gpm at 3000 psi)
  • overhead crane capable of lifting 10 tons (22,000 lbf)
  • specialty environmental chambers built to satisfy customer testing needs

Why work with us

As the foremost Canadian authority on the design of complex fatigue testing systems, the NRC has over 60 years' experience in full-scale fatigue and static testing for Canada's Department of National Defence and major companies within the aerospace sector, focussing on safety, quality and service. The NRC's accomplishments in this area were recognised in 2002 when it was awarded the prestigious Von Karman award by the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences for its outstanding structural fatigue test of the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. In the recent past, the NRC has developed several innovative testing and monitoring methodologies that are now used worldwide by the aerospace industry, including:

  • full-scale testing technologies, including cross-coupling compensation (C3), now commercialized by MTS in their control system software worldwide, allowing faster spectrum fatigue testing using multi-actuator systems
  • innovative fatigue rig design methodologies, including rig mass minimization and test article interfacing, better article access for inspection and higher load fidelity
  • trend monitoring to determine changes in structural response during testing, for early damage detection
  • damage tolerance analysis (>DTA) and risk assessment to reduce requirements for inspections and repairs
  • structural health monitoring (SHM) to monitor the structural integrity of aircraft, enabling condition-based maintenance (CBM) and remaining life assessment based on usage
  • state-of-the-art NDE techniques for inspecting metallic, composite and hybrid structures, including probability of detection (POD) studies
  • NDT reference standards simulating cracking, corrosion or impact


We offer fee-for-service testing in all of our full-scale structural testing facilities at competitive rates that include the support of technical experts, research officers and engineers. Depending upon the nature of a client's request, we also offer advanced technology and business opportunities that can translate into collaborative agreements or consortia work. Contact us to discuss your options and develop a customized plan to fit your structural full-scale testing needs.

Targeted industry


Contact us

Dean Flanagan,
Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-990-8319

Related information

Aerospace Research Centre

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