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Pushing the Flight Envelope

Posted by Jyou Nagao, Aircraft Loads Engineering Lead on May 26, 2017 9:48:22 AM

During the flight load survey tests, more than 250 pressure sensors and strain gauges affixed to the aircraft measured the maximum loads on its external surfaces and components. Throughout the test flights, the crew maneuvered the aircraft to reach specified G-loads, maximum rudder deflection, and roll and side slip thresholds as our engineers monitored the data and Japanese aviation authorities witnessed and approved the test via the telemetry room.

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Topics: Testing, Engineering, FTA-2, Design, Moses Lake Flight Test Center

Operating at -40 Degrees

Posted by Kunihiko Mizuno, MFC Engineering Manager - Eglin Lead on May 26, 2017 9:47:34 AM

At McKinley Climatic Laboratory on Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, FTA-4 underwent extreme temperature tests between February 28 and March 17, 2017. After initial set up, temperatures sunk down to -40° C for five full days of extreme cold testing. Following this, the testing team removed their winter coats and swapped in their t-shirts, and ratcheted the heat up to 50° C for several more test days. Among other systems, the test and data gathered is used to validate the performance of the Environmental Control System (ECS). “Pull-Up” and “Pull-Down” tests, which begin in a cold or hot soaked condition, measured the ability of the system to control the cabin and flight deck to a comfortable temperature within a specified time.

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Topics: Testing, Engineering, FTA-4, Eglin Air Force Base

Flying Safely Beyond the Limits

Flying the aircraft at varying altitudes and speeds beyond maximum operation limits, the high-speed flutter test demonstrated sufficient margin on the normal operating envelope of the MRJ. Testing for flutter – a phenomenon that occurs when aerodynamic forces cause rapid self-excited destructive vibration – required a heavily instrumented aircraft operated by well-trained crew that was monitored by engineering specialists on the ground. 

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Topics: Testing, Engineering, FTA-2, Design, Nagoya Airfield

Flying While Frozen

Posted by Koki Fukuda, Engineering Lead - Ice Protection Systems on May 26, 2017 9:44:36 AM

In February and March 2017, Flight Test Aircraft 4 (FTA-4) performed initial natural icing tests based out of the Rockford International Airport in Illinois. This was the first off-site test campaign to collect data in these conditions.

Tests performed by a team of global specialists using dedicated flight test instrumentation obtained valuable data to analyze the airframe ice accretion and Ice Protection Systems performance. Guided by a meteorologist on the ground, FTA-4 flew through clouds with specific moisture content, water droplet size and temperature resulting in varied icing conditions to understand how the aircraft would perform and eliminate ice on the leading edge of the wings and engines during flight.

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Topics: Testing, Engineering, Design, Environment, FTA-4

Neutralizing a Lightning Strike

Posted by Toshihiko Nishimori, Engineering Manager - EME Group on May 26, 2017 9:39:45 AM

As a prerequisite to the type certification lightning test later this year, we completed an internal simulated lightning strike assessment on Flight Test Aircraft 5 (FTA-5) in December 2016 in Nagoya, Japan. To simulate lightning strikes, we applied a low electrical current to the aircraft, which produces a magnetic field around certain areas of the aircraft, such as the ports, engines and the edges of the empennage on the tail.

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Topics: Testing, Engineering, Craftsmanship, Nagoya Airfield, FTA-5

Meeting the Strength Test

Posted by Alex Bellamy, Senior Director - Program Management Office on May 26, 2017 9:32:00 AM

Required for all new clean-sheet design aircraft, the Full-Scale Static Strength Test ensures the aircraft’s ability to meet structural strength safety standards and comprises testing of the wings, vertical stabilizer and fuselage. The test rig, a system of hydraulic actuators positioned to distribute force across the airframe simulating operating loads, was designed and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at a facility near the Nagoya Airfield in the Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

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Topics: Testing, Engineering, Craftsmanship, Design, Nagoya Airfield