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Bombardier aircraft executes technology demonstration flight in Alaska

Bombardier Aerospace today announced the completion of another milestone in the execution of its Strategic Technology program for civil aviation: a Bombardier Global 5000 test aircraft executed a series of flight tests in known icing conditions equipped with a composite electro-thermal wing leading edge ice protection system.

"One of Bombardier Aerospace's strategic priorities is to develop innovative, environmentally conscious products that meet customer needs globally, and we take great pride in this commitment to aircraft innovation," said François Caza, Vice President and Chief Engineer, Bombardier Aerospace. "These successful flight tests highlight Bombardier's commitment to the advancement of aviation technology. They are part of a comprehensive technology development program covering various areas, including avionics, aircraft systems, advanced structures and advanced manufacturing methods," he added.

The Electro-thermal Ice Protection System (EIPS) flight testing lasted in excess of 35 hours, seven of which were completed with the Electro-thermal Ice Protection System selected "on" in both dry air and natural icing conditions. The main components of the EIPS are a Meggitt thermal solution with a Fokker advanced material leading edge slat structure, incorporating Meggitt heaters and ICE Corporation controllers. Extensive wind tunnel and icing tunnel tests were conducted beforehand to support in-flight safety.

On board the test aircraft were Sam Gamar and Frank Magnusson, Engineering Test pilots; Jeff Hyde and Laura Hilboldt, Flight Test engineers and Eduardo Freitas and Kheira Aboubi, Thermodynamics engineers.

"We tested the EIPS in both dry air and natural icing conditions south of Anchorage, Alaska, with great success. The system demonstrated structural integrity and successful ice protection performance as anticipated from a more efficient electrical system," said Peter Rawlinson, System Lead engineer, Bombardier Aerospace.

"The demonstration of an Electro-thermal Ice Protection system is one step further towards a "More Electric Aircraft" that will have electrical power as the primary means to operate systems normally driven by less efficient engine compressor bleed air," said Avraham Ardman, Chief Systems engineer, Bombardier Aerospace.

Less than two years ago, Bombardier successfully flight-tested an all electric braking system. This time, Bombardier's strategic technology demonstrator aircraft was modified by removing the bleed air ducting and leak detection system from the most outboard slat, an eleven-foot-long span, on both wings. In their place, an electro-thermal composite leading edge, incorporating Meggitt heaters and an associated power harness, was installed on each wing.

The key benefits of this new technology are: an expected increase in aircraft dispatch reliability; elimination of bleed-air ducting, valves, and leak detection associated with hot bleed air duct failures. The new technology will simplify the aircraft manufacturing and assembly processes and lead to reduced maintenance costs for operators. It will also save energy and reduce aircraft emissions, leading to a more environmentally conscious product.

Press release issued by Bombardier Aerospace on June 21, 2011


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