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European Researchers Fly Mini-A320 to Assess New Approach to Flight Testing

Apr 13,2022

Researchers in the Netherlands have successfully conducted the maiden flight of a scaled-down A320 replica to assess if the flight-test data it produces can help bridge the gap between computer modeling and real-world flight testing.

The Scaled Flight Demonstrator (SFD) has been developed by a team of European research organisations including the Netherland¡¯s Royal NLR, France¡¯s ONERA, Italy¡¯s CIRA and Airbus, as part of the Clean Sky 2 research program for future large passenger aircraft. Dutch company Orange Aerospace supported the development of the aircraft.

The SFD is a 1:8.5 scaled version of an Airbus A320, with a wingspan of 4m (13ft), weight of 140kg (310 lbs) and a cruise speed of 160km/h (100mph). The demonstrator features flight test instrumentation (FTI) capable of carrying out measurements during the wind tunnel and flight tests capable of recording more than 150 parameters.

The SFD aims to validate scaled-flight testing as a viable way to test new aircraft technologies. Engineers believe that flying a geometrically scaled-down model loaded with FTI will produce real-world data that can be used to make computer models more accurate.

The use of scaled models in aircraft testing is not a new idea, but they are rarely used for flight testing early in the development process. However, models are frequently used to test aerodynamic performance and noise in wind tunnels.

Leo Timmermans, senior R&D engineer at NLR said, ¡°The SFD can be used both in the wind tunnel test and during actual flight tests. This provides additional data about the dynamic behaviour.

¡°The SFD is being used to validate the concept of scaled flight testing and eventually it can be used to develop innovative radical aircraft configuration and propulsion concepts.¡±

It is estimated that in the next 20 years, China's domestic aviation market alone will receive nearly 5500 new aircrafts, with a total value of 670 billion US dollars. This shows the huge domestic aviation market demand has become a boost agent to promote the aircraft manufacturing industry to achieve civil aviation power. As far as the aircraft manufacturing industry is concerned, it is the absolute truth to produce cost-effective aircraft. How to further improve the safety, comfort, green and intelligent degree of aircraft is the mission entrusted by history to the aircraft manufacturing industry.

Under this background, the 12th Annual Civil Aircraft Industry International Forum 2022 will be held on May 26th ¨C 27th, 2022, in Nanchang city, Jiangxi Province, China. You are welcome to participate.

Click here to register you interest or contact with marketing@galleon.cc directly.

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