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Bombardier Aircraft Executes a Historic First Flight


Today, Bombardier Aerospace announced another milestone in the advancement of civil aviation: a Bombardier test aircraft executed a first flight equipped entirely with an all electric braking system – a civil aviation first. The testing lasted in excess of seven hours, included five landings and a series of high-speed braked ground runs. The Bombardier demonstator aircraft was equipped with Meggitt’s electric braking system – known as the EBrake®, and Messier-Dowty’s landing gear with electric brake wiring harnesses.

On board the test aircraft were engineering test pilots, Gary Bruce and Jeff Karnes, along with flight test engineer, Anthony Dunne. “We tested the Ebrake® system’s normal, emergency and park braking functionality during both ground and flight tests. It provided improved braking control in normal and emergency operating modes, resulting in tight centerline control even during maximum brake applications,” said Gary Bruce, Pilot in Command.

“We at Bombardier are commited to, and take pride in, aircraft innovation,” said François Caza, Vice President and Chief Engineer, Bombardier Aerospace. “This successful first flight highlights Bombardier’s commitment to the advancement of aviation technology. It is part of a comprehensive technology development program covering various areas, including avionics, aircraft configurations, advanced structures and advanced manufacturing methods,” he added.

Electric braking is the next evolution in aerospace braking system technology for it couples brake-by-wire control with electric brake actuation. Bombardier’s strategic technology demonstrator aircraft was modified by removing its hydraulically actuated brake-by-wire control system. In its place, a complete electric brake-by-wire system, with fully integrated anti-skid protection, emergency and parking brake functions was installed.

The key benefits of this new technology are an expected increase in the aircraft’s dispatch reliability; elimination of brake system hydraulic leaks with associated fire risk; simplification of the aircraft’s manufacturing process; and reduced maintenance costs for airlines. In addition to these tangible aircraft level benefits, electric brake technology falls in-line with the industry evolution towards more electric aircraft providing a more fuel efficient, cleaner-burning aircraft and reducing the usage of toxic hydraulic fluids.

Earlier this month, on October 6, 2008, Bombardier and Meggitt announced they are collaborating to deploy the newest brake system technology available on Bombardier’s strategic technology aircraft. Featuring Meggitt’s electrically actuated carbon brake system – known as the EBrake® – this aircraft tested all the system’s capabilities, including normal, emergency and parking modes. Meggitt’s system will also remain on the aircraft for an extended period of time to validate the robustness and reliability of its design.

Bombardier’s dedicated Strategic Technology department has been evaluating, designing and developing new technologies to introduce safer, turn-key and state-of-the-art solutions to the civil aviation market. Other projects that highlight Bombardier’s dedication to innovation include: development of a complete and generic fly-by-wire system with Parker Aerospace; research and development of composite structures using automated fiber-placement technology, as well as other composite manufacturing technologies.


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