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Heavy External Modifications: How To Test It Without Re-Doing It All? A Case Study Of The Latest French Military Flying Testbed

Benoît DOUXCHAMPS, SABENA TECHNICS BOD, Flight Test Department, France


Building a new mission aircraft from an existing airframe usually requires heavy external modifications. The problem is: how to flight test those heavy modifications in a safe and cost-effective way, on a single airplane that cannot accommodate all the test features of the original type certificate prototype, and which still must have some flight potential at the end of the test campaign? This paper aims to share Sabena Technics way of flight testing one-of-a-kind mission airplanes, with a case study of the latest French military flying testbed (ABENG).

Key success elements outlined are an appropriate level of involvement of the original Type Certificate holder, the selection of the right level of flight test instrumentation, and the use of a good crew and test location. Some useful special tools are presented: a specific pilot flight test display, an air data boom, an on-board flutter tool, water ballasts and a video system with tufts. These considerations are illustrated by explaining the deep stall prevention strategy and the use of the above special tools during the ABENG flight test program.

Wed, 2017-09-13