One-of-a-kind facility tests aviation piston engines and fuels in simulated flight conditions
Manufacturers can now test aviation piston engines, alternative fuel products, and unmanned aerial vehicle platforms, all in one location. That's because the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has added new research capabilities to its Research Altitude Test Facility in Ottawa.
The Testbed for Aviation Piston Engine Research is operated within an altitude chamber able to recreate realistic, controlled flight conditions up to 52,000 feet. This unique capability enables NRC to simulate flight conditions in various controlled temperature and pressure environments, independent of seasonal conditions.
"The Testbed for Aviation Piston Engine Research is a new capability that enhances our commitment to providing solutions for pressing issues like the development of alternative aviation fuels," said Jerzy Komorowski, General Manager of Aerospace at NRC. "Supported by the expertise and technical competence of our researchers, this facility is ready for new clients and partners involved with improving aviation industries environmental compliance."
The new testbed can accommodate an entire piston engine test rig (engine, dynamometer, fuel system, etc.) where researchers and engineers test piston engine performance, detonation, emissions and operability prior to actual flight testing, significantly reducing costs, risks and time for industry clients.
Along with Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, NRC tests alternative fuels, including lead-free gasoline for aviation piston engines. As the aviation industry tries to find alternatives to aviation gasoline (avgas), this facility's capabilities remain unique compared to others in the world when it comes to advancing the quest for lead-free avgas while maintaining engine performance for safety, and alignment with existing fueling infrastructure.
NRC is responding to the needs of Canadian and global industry in the aviation piston engine sector with this unique world-class testing and certifying resource. The data it can provide is essential to both manufacturers and regulatory agencies. It offers solutions that will benefit industry, public health and the environment for future generations.
The project supports the work of NRC's Aeronautical Product Development Technologies program, which works with industry and aerospace companies to accelerate the delivery of innovative aeronautical products to market through qualification and certification. The program also works with regulatory bodies to ensure certification requirements are met through testing and validation.