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Video Exclusives

Plasma wind tunnel testing

Watch the first simulated re-entry of a full-sized spacecraft in a plasma wind tunnel as the The Scirocco facility tests the Qarman cubesat.

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18 July, 2018

Sonic boom acoustic tests

This video, from a NASA Social event at Armstrong Flight Research Center, shows an F/A-18 producing a regular sonic boom at 0:43 and and then a low “boom” by performing the dive maneuver at 02:34. NASA researchers are preparing for public tests of technology designed to reduce the noise of sonic booms

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03 July, 2018

Autonomous vehicles explained

Safran’s SimplyFly! light hearted series of video’s takes on autonomous vehicles - how will they work and what are the main challenges? Learn more about the topic by watching this video.

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20 June, 2018


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NASA's latest X-plane is helping to develop and test new electric propulsion technology - when do you think we will see the first hybrid/electric commercial jet enter service?

Weekly Quiz

NASA's latest X-plane is helping to develop and test new electric propulsion technology - when do you think we will see the first hybrid/electric commercial jet enter service?

Never - there are just too many challenges to solve

Recent Polls

  • Have testing accidents uncovered all the ways to crash, with new incidents being just repeats or variations of old ones?
  • Is extensive simulation and iron bird testing of new aircraft and their systems on the ground shortening the time before the first flights?
  • Are compound helicopters with propellers and rotors the next big development for these craft?
  • Do you think this is true?
  • Do you agree that Britain leaving the EU will be bad for the aerospace testing sector?
  • The FAA has announced new UAV regulations, but has enough testing been carried out to date to ensure safety?
  • Will testing simulation software be able to cope with novel craft before first flights?
  • Will the goals of the US Air Force's Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) to produce engines with 25% improved fuel efficiency, 10% increased thrust, and significantly improved thermal management, be met by 2021?
  • At the Farnborough Air Show, Airbus revealed its use of drones for aircraft topside inspection for quality control during building. Is drone use likely to be extended to other tasks such as pre-flight inspections?
  • Siemens's research developments have produced a lightweight electric motor with five times greater output per unit of weight than comparable drive systems. When will we see electric commercial passenger aircraft enter service - 
  • Whose strategy will be first to succeed?
  • Is this aerospace testing going to produce quick results, say within five years?
  • Do you think enough ground and flight testing of electric aircraft batteries will be completed to make commercial electric aircraft a reality within 10 years, as suggested by Bertrand Piccard of Solar Impulse 2, or within the next 30-40 years as Airbus suggests?
  • Are aerospace part inspection and testing requirements adequate for stressed mechanical parts (aside from fuel nozzles) to be used in commercial aviation?
  • Are aerospace part inspection and testing requirements for additive manufacturing (AD or '3D') sufficiently robust for the manufacturing technique to be approved for use in flight-critical applications in commercial aviation?
  • The NASA HiDyRS-X HDR camera individually controls the exposure for each pixel in the image. Will this technology find wider application in aerospace testing, for instance where there is a need to capture data when operations produce extremes of both light and dark?
  • With government budgets stretched, are test articles likely to be re-introduced for further fatigue testing to extend the life of existing aircraft, or are new designs more effectively tested, meaning investing in them is money better spent?
  • Military test articles, such as the F-15s, are to be subjected to further fatigue testing to extend the life of existing aircraft. Does this make economic sense or are new designs already more effectively tested, meaning investing in them is money better spent?
  • With testing ongoing at branches of the US Air Force (decontamination and weapons drops) and the US Navy (carrier landings and weapons loading), when will the F-35 finish testing and qualifications so full production can begin?
  • India has become the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a scramjet engine after the US, Russia and the European Space Agency. Which country do you think will be the first to deliver a fully functioning scramjet engine? 
  • Testing of the space vehicle contenders to take tourists on suborbital flights employs rockets, spaceplanes lifted aloft by aircraft and even balloons. Which approach will be the first to finish testing and take passengers to the edge of space (or beyond)? 
  • In your experience, which is more likely to cause big problems in aerospace testing: small items or traceability?
  • Are issues with C-Band telemetry and the current frequency spectrum allotment for ATM sufficient, given the exponential growth of required measurements and data rates?
  • New hybrid and electric propulsion developments could help deliver a new generation of small aircraft ideal for use as air taxis. Will their low emissions and low noise finally usher in the long awaited era of the air taxi?
  • Cessna has recently completed the successful first flight of its Citation Longitude super-midsize jet, having only unveiled the aircraft last November. When do you expect the aircraft to achieve FAA certification?
  • The UK government has commissioned testing to investigate the damage that might be caused if a drone hits an airliner. But isn't existing 'bird-strike' testing with frozen poultry an adequate equivalent? 
  • NASA's Safe Autonomous Systems Operations Project is demonstrating that multiple drones can occupy the same airspace. Will the programs being developed in these tests have usefulness in flight software (such as collision avoidance and navigation of search patterns) for other kinds of aircraft ?
  • Having experienced a heavy landing on 24 August, the Airlander hybrid airship is currently being repaired before resuming flight testing in the early part of 2017. The company predicts a market for well over 500 Airlanders once certified. How many do you think it will sell?
  • Currently 35% of GE engines comprise AM parts, what level of replacement do you think can be achieved in the future?
  • Will this demand be the main source of the projected MC-21 orders?
  • Will two-engine jets prevail in all future civilian airliner designs?
  • Does software development represent the greatest testing challenge prior to an aircraft's first flight, or are hardware issues more problematic?
  • The Stratos 714 Very Light Personal Jet (4-6 passengers) began flight testing this week and there are several manufacturers with similar designs trying to enter the market. What percentage of these testing programs for certification will be successfully completed?
  • Is the uptake of these new engines into new aircraft designs likely to be seen in:
  • As airports seek ways to reduce emissions, when might we expect these devices to become a common feature at large airports for the ground control of aircraft without the running of jet engines?
  • Will UAS be fully integrated into the USA' NAS in:
  • It's the time of year for industry predictions and revenue forecasts, but what we want to know is whether your company is planning to hire additional testing staff in 2017? And if so, roughly how many?
  • What is your estimate for when the F-35's operational test and evaluation will begin?
  • Does the use of a UAS to record ground testing events from the sky seem like a one-off, or are there more testing applications which would benefit from employing this technology?
  • Could the use of Unsteady PSP (pressure-sensitive paint) find a wider area of application in scale aerospace wind tunnel testing - replacing many pressure sensors and their associated wiring? 
  • We're going to report on NDT again in the upcoming March 2017 issue, and want to know which methods are most important for your work:
  • Do you think being able to see this kind of aircraft and explore its role in flight testing will help museum visitors appreciate the aerospace testing efforts that go into certification?
  • Does your organization have any legacy systems which are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain?
  • When do you think these designs could begin flying?
  • We're just finishing the March issue of Aerospace Testing International - at 120 pages our biggest yet, and packed full of great features. We'll shortly start work on the June issue, which will include focuses on three key testing areas: Data acquisition; fatigue testing; and engine testing. Of these three, which are you most interested in? 
  • Would an augmented reality (AR) visor, which would allow you to 'see' a proposed test setup and perhaps see virtual patterns of vibration or the effects of electromagnetic interference superimposed on an aircraft or subcomponent, be useful in your testing work?
  • NASA's report on biofuel flight testing has been released. When do you think biofuels will become a large part of commercial aviation fuel?
  • Do you work in vibration testing where awkward shapes (large or asymmetric, for example) require customized shakers?
  • With such extensive testing carried out beforehand, if a company subsequently learns a lot from the first flight, does this mean something has gone wrong in the pre-flight testing regime?
  • Aerospace Testing International would like to know if you currently use virtual reality or augmented reality as part of your aerospace testing toolkit?
  • Are fuel cells likely to become a key component of commercial hybrid electric aircraft?
  • Does this ratio of test flight craft to orders represent the 'norm' for developing specialized military aircraft?
  • How likely is FAA and EASA regulatory approval within two years after completing the Chinese required testing?
  • Is the greater use of novel materials, such as the ceramic matrix composites used in the GE90X engine, a technology that is likely to work its way into smaller engines?
  • Has your testing ever encountered a 'show-stopper' problem that needed resolution?
  • Does your aerospace testing work require strapping equipment (like an engine or sensors) onto an appendage on the outside of an aircraft, or creating a structure such as the F-22 Flying Test Bed?
  • Are you planning to attend the Paris Air Show (19-25 June) this year? 
  • Does the ground preparation for testing mean there has been an overall reduction in flight test hours needed for certification?
  • When are we likely to see a supersonic, 'low-boom' prototype aircraft in flight testing?
  • Google and Facebook are exploring the use of different types of aircraft to provide internet access to remote areas, but which of the following methods is most likely to succeed?
  • If this technology can be commercialized and incorporated into new designs, will the first users be:
  • Do you see a strong industry demand for more flight test pilots and flight test engineers to work in the ever-growing civil aviation sector? And if so, are the skills required any different from those needed for the defense sector?
  • With Airbus announcing that its CityAirbus urban air mobility demonstrator is on track for its maiden flight in 2018, and Velocopter test flying its technology in Dubai recently, how soon do you expect to see such autonomous 'flying taxis' in everyday use?
  • Test engineers are dealing with more data than ever before. We'd like to know if you feel you
    spend too much time dealing with the storage, retrieval and handling of data between systems
    than you do analyzing and interpreting it.
  • The Atlas V Launcher and CST-100 Starliner's is on track to return the USA's capability to put humans into space without the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, possibly by the end of 2018. But, with the benefit of hindsight, do you think the Space Shuttle program, which ran from 1981 to 2011, was a misstep in the US-space program?
  • We'd like to know, what do you think are the greatest engineering challenges to be solved for electric and hybrid aircraft, before they can be used more widely in aviation?
  • With the use of 3D-printed parts in aircraft most likely to only increase, we'd like to know if you feel your company is ready to inspect and test more 3D printed parts made from new materials for use in aerospace applications:
  • We'd like to ask: Do you favour the use of wireless over wired when connecting sensors?

  • People are queueing to board a 100-seat aircraft. John is the first person in the line. He gets on the plane, but then can't remember what his seat number is, so he picks a seat at random. After that, each person who gets on the plane sits in their assigned seat if it's available, or they choose an open seat at random to sit in.The flight is full and you are last in line. What is the probability that you get to sit in your assigned seat?
  • What was the initial capacity of the bus?
  • Two identical bolts are placed together so their grooves intermesh. If you move the bolts around each other as you would twiddle your thumbs, holding each bolt firmly by the head so it does not rotate and twiddling them in the direction shown, will the heads-
  • Your partner goes to the shop, but while at the counter gets confused. They swap the number for feet with the number for inches and buy the wrong length of ribbon. When they return home, you measure the ribbon and realise it's just 5/8 of the length that was required. Can you calculate the length of the ribbon that was requested?
  • A hunter leaves his camp and while wandering encounters a bear. There is nobody else there. Both take fright at the sight of each other and run away. The hunter runs to the north, the bear to the west. Suddenly the hunter stops, aims his gun to the south and successfully shoots the bear. What color was the bear?
  • How many hours of F&R flight testing are required by the FAA for type certification of aircraft featuring new engines?
  • How many man-made pieces of debris or "space junk" are orbiting the Earth?
  • At what speed does an aircraft's speed become hypersonic?
  • In which decade was the first military drone used?
  • But how many decibels is that reduction?
  • The FAA is currently in the process of rewriting the regulations for the certification of helicopters, Part 27, so that they use performance-based criteria instead of prescriptive rules that are up to 50 years old. What is the maximum passenger capacity of rotorcraft that are currently included under Part 27?
  • The FAA is asking for feedback on its proposed changes to the testing regimes for bird ingestion into engines. But what is the average size of a snow goose, the flocking bird responsible for the 2009 engine incident at LaGuardia the FAA is basing its tests on?
  • With Airbus' Zephyr drone pushing the limits of aviation to reach an altitude of 74,000ft in the stratosphere during test flights, we would like to ask - where do you think the atmosphere ends and space begins?

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