Aerospace Solutions - Iron Bird Testing

Today’s commercial and military aircrafts are increasing complex and call for high-performance test solutions. Proving out systems, sub-systems, and components, before the actual flight of an aircraft, requires sophisticated test systems to ensure proper design, function, and durability. These test systems reduce the long-term cost of operation, flight safety, and of course, the potential need of redesign by aircraft suppliers and OEMs.

Iron Bird Test Systems
Focused on quality, service, and support, we brings decades of experience in aerospace testing, including iron bird test systems. An iron bird is a full scale mock-up of the actual aircraft under development with all flight components attached to a non-airworthy structure. Recent iron bird projects completed by Genuen include turbine engine testing, flight control labs, and hydraulic system integration test rigs.

  • Turbine Engine Testing

When simulating a full iron bird, motors are used to simulate the output of turbines. By simulating the turbines with AC motors, Genuen is able to provide a safe environment for testing and evaluation, as well as a power source for the components.

Example Project Solution: One project for a major aircraft manufacturer included two AC motors and the associated control system that were capable of continuous operation at an output of 350 HP at 18,000 RPM, and included an intermediate shaft that tied directly into the gearboxes off each of the two turbines. These gearboxes drove the primary pump that supplied the hydraulic pumps, which in turn provided the power to the actuator pump and motors that powered all of the flight control surfaces, as well as the landing gear.

  • Flight Control Labs

These systems integrate and test the avionics with the control of flight surfaces. Flight control labs provide accurate simulated loading on the flight surface, as would be seen during flight, and move with each of the flight surfaces in reaction to these forces. These systems provide data acquisition and control for product evaluation and can also provide an automated test profile for unmanned operation and repetitious testing.

Example Project Solution: A major corporation in space exploration contracted us to create a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) flight surface actuation simulator to verify the design and performance for the flight control system for a commercial transport spacecraft. We built a flight control integration laboratory (FCIL) control system for testing the lower body flap, which controls pitch and is one out of seven total control surfaces for the complete iron bird. The system included hydraulic actuators controlled by INERTIA software and PXI hardware.

  • Hydraulic System Integration Test Rigs (HSITR)

These rigs are used to test aircraft hydraulic sub-systems or components related to controlling the fight surfaces and leading gear systems. For an accurate simulation, the HSITR provides actual aircraft fluid to the components mounted to a structure that closely replicates the actual aircraft. In addition, the system provides a pump that delivers the hydraulic at the required pressure and flow rate. Data acquisition and control can be provided with these systems allowing the collection of data for product evaluation, and can also provide an automated test profile for unmanned operation and repetitious testing.

Example Project Solution: One of the simulation systems we designed and built for a global leader of aerospace systems and components tested all components in the sub-systems provided by the client for the 787 flight actuators, pumps, and motors. These systems were interconnected and assembled on a frame with all hose lengths identically matching those in the aircraft. They could “fly” the airplane and ensure complete functionality.

The Genuen Difference

We are dedicated to providing test solutions based on the latest technologies deployed in non-proprietary systems at cost-effective prices. Our engineering staff brings many years of experience to the design and build of complex test equipment in all areas of development. Our iron bird offering includes:

  • A full range of applications, including special function machines, systems integration, automated test systems, machinery and controls modernization, and software development
  • Well-qualified staff of electrical, mechanical, software engineers, along with skilled trades personnel with experience in all aspects of data acquisition and testing
  • Best-in-class components and tools from manufacturers, ensuring reliability, serviceability, and support
  • Design and build on open, adaptable platforms for long-term success of our clients’ test investment
  • Expertise in all versions of LabVIEW, including Real-Time, FPGA, Embedded, and Test Stand, and have multiple certified LabVIEW architects and developers on staff

Related Links
Iron Birds
Aerospace and Defense