Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: Canada’s R&D hothouse germinates programs

 - June 20, 2011, 7:10 AM

Keen to promote its expertise and capacity to help technological developments, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) is here at Le Bourget (Canadian pavilion, Hall 3 E69) to offer its services to the international aerospace community. “We offer one-stop shopping to meet research and technology development needs,” said NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (IAR) director-general Jerzy Komorowski. 

Last year, the NRC Aerospace Flight Research Laboratory (AFRL), which conducts research ranging from basic aerodynamics to product development and certification, launched a program to offer flight-test capacity to smaller Canadian and foreign companies. For example, working with Quebec-based manufacturer AeroNautic Development Corp. (ADC), the AFRL is helping with certification flight-testing of the prototype Seawind 300C single-engine amphibious aircraft.

Preliminary systems-function tests and flying-quality assessments–such as pitot-static calibrations and flight-control rigging–have been completed and the program is moving on to certification flights. High-angle-of-attack tests currently under way will complete the integration of a stall-protection system ahead of “core” certification tests.

The Seawind program is scheduled to require 500 hours airborne, and the prototype has already logged 60+ hours. Completion is expected “within six months, with the collaboration of Transport Canada [TC].” Following national approval, ADC will apply for reciprocal U.S. Part 23 authorization from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

A key element of the program has been designation of NRC chief test pilot Rob Erdos as a TC design approval representative. Other areas of NRC capability include installation of certification instruments, structural analysis and flight-test expertise. “We developed this capability because we wanted to support smaller Canadian and [foreign] aerospace companies,” said AFRL director Stewart Baillie. “We find this is a good use of our experience as a research organization.”

The ARFL research fleet includes Dassault Falcon 20, Convair 580, North American T-6 Harvard, Lockheed T-33, de Havilland Canada Twin Otter and Extra 300 aircraft, as well as Bell 412, 205A and 206 helicopters. Researchers use these aircraft to support projects in the main ARFL program areas: airborne research, aircraft-recorder technology, avionics and flight mechanics.

The NRC is seeking aerospace partners to develop cabin environment technologies to enhance passenger and crew experience, and possibly to reduce the construction and operating costs of pressurized fixed-wing aircraft. Key areas for development include acoustics, health, indoor air quality, lighting, thermal comfort and ventilation.

Dubbed aircraft cabin environment technologies and managed through the IAR, the initiative applies human factors expertise to set design goals and to stimulate progress in development of environmental-control and ventilation systems, cabin assemblies, lighting designs and acoustical treatments.

NRC indoor environment and fire research programs can contribute to health and safety developments. They also enable it to undertake research on airborne systems, airworthiness engineering, avionics, flight mechanics and operations and gas-turbine aerodynamics and combustion.

Also operating through the IAR, NRC’s hyperspectral imaging research facility is open for collaborative research and fee-for-service clients. The unit offers its airborne polarmetric shortwave infrared hyperspectral system for use in emerging areas such as forensic- and wildlife-research related activities.