As we enter a new decade, providing expert testing services to the Aerospace industry remains an essential part of the manufacturing process. With air travel currently being the fastest growing transport sector, it is vital for the industry to keep at the forefront of innovation. To do this, the sector requires the best and most advanced support services that invest in new technology and keep pace with sector advancements.
Safety, of course, remains a vital part of the manufacturing and operations process, bringing to the fore the ability to test new technologies to standards for airworthiness, such as the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics’ (RTCA’s) DO160 standard for Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment, alongside Military and Defense standards applicable to aircraft.
Approved and current standards often lag behind technological advances because of the time taken to develop them. This means testing businesses like Element must keep pace with our customers’ emerging technologies so we can ensure the test environment provides the best possible simulation of the real conditions in which the aircraft will operate. As that environment is constantly changing and developing, our level of customer engagement needs to be increasingly early in the process and at a high level. This enables us to work in partnership to design the test programs, build and commission test rigs, undertake tests and interpret results—all as ahead of the curve as possible.
Modern aircraft engines are increasingly designed for greater fuel efficiency, so they are running hotter and at higher pressures which, inevitably transfers different stresses to the airframe. Therefore, the test requirements for hotter, higher pressure and large G forces require increased investment to ensure that these test methods and facilities remain current. Similarly, new concepts around blended or hybrid wing aircraft whilst offering greater fuel efficiency require different materials and engine technologies. When electric propulsion systems are further developed, different stresses on the aircraft will result and changes in materials used in the manufacture of the fuselage and engine casings will behave differently when tested. Tests such as impact and direct lightning strike require the development of new techniques to keep pace with the new materials so that the industry can be confident of their airworthiness.