The National Research Council of Canada Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-Aerospace) is assisting Seawind LLC, a company located in Kimberton, Pennsylvania, with the certification flight-testing of the Seawind 300C single-engine amphibian.
Launched in 2010, the program was designed to be responsive to the flight test needs of smaller Canadian and international aerospace companies. This capability is a natural progression for the NRC Aerospace Flight Research Laboratory, which conducts research from basic aerodynamics to product development and certification for market, according to program officials.
The Seawind flight test prototype is currently based at the NRC Aerospace Flight Research Laboratory, located at Ottawa’s Uplands airport. The laboratory is conducting the certification testing in conjunction with the Seawind’s Canadian manufacturer, AeroNautic Development Corporation (ADC) in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec. The preliminary systems functional tests and flying quality assessments, such as pitot-static calibrations and flight-control rigging, have already been completed. Currently, they are transitioning now to certification flights, having already put more than 60 hours on the prototype.
High angle of attack tests are ongoing to complete the integration of a stall protection system, a component that will offer flight envelope protection against inadvertent en route stalls and spins. The next activities will be the core certification tests for submission to Transport Canada.
The Seawind program is scheduled to require 500 hours airborne, with completion within six months, with the collaboration of Transport Canada. Following Canadian certification, ADC will apply for reciprocal US airworthiness Part 23 authorization from the FAA.
A key efficiency feature of the flight-testing program is the designation of NRC’s chief test pilot, Rob Erdos, as a Transport Canada Design Approval Representative (DAR). This allows him to act as the organization’s surrogate in examining the airworthiness of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft designs, and to determine their compliance with air regulations. As a lead member of the delegation, he is empowered to assess the level of pilot skill required to operate an aircraft, the ease of operation of the aircraft, and the crew workload. Other areas of NRC capability include installation of certification instrumentation, structural analysis and flight test expertise, all of which make the organization a credible partner when working to meet the requirements of a government regulator.
“We developed this capability because we wanted to support smaller Canadian and international aerospace companies, which may not be large enough to have test pilots and the associated support people on staff,” says Stewart Baillie, Director of NRC’s Aerospace Flight Research Laboratory. “We find this is a good use of our experience as a research organization, because of the inherent links between basic aeronautical research and the requirements of flight certification testing.”
The NRC Aerospace Flight Research Laboratory maintains and operates a small fleet of dedicated research aircraft, including a Falcon 20, a Convair 580, a Harvard Mark IV, a T-33, a Twin Otter, a Bell 412, a Bell 205A, a Bell 206 and an Extra 300. Researchers use these aircraft to support projects in the lab’s main program areas: flight mechanics, avionics, aircraft recorder technology and airborne research.
For more information: www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca