The National Flying Laboratory Centre, Cranfield University
In-Flight Measurement and Research
Presented by Professor Nicholas Lawson CEng PhD FRAeS MSFTE
The National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) at Cranfield University operates three aircraft for research and teaching. The aircraft range from a 7,000kg Jetstream 31 turboprop with 19 seats, to two tandem-seat 1,000kg aerobatic piston engine aircraft. A Saab 340B will replace the Jetstream in 2021.
The NFLC flies over 1,500 aerospace engineering students per year from 20+ UK universities, to provide experiential learning of flying and flight tests. The NFLC is also active in research areas with other academic partners and industry.
This online presentation will describe the history of the NFLC, from its origins in the Cranfield College of Aeronautics, up to the present day, including the current NFLC aircraft, their teaching role and their application in a research environment. Recent research ranges from the development of fibre optic pressure and strain sensors in flight and human factor disorientation studies, to the study and validation of an unsteady computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. Future plans for the laboratory and the challenges of in-flight measurement will also be discussed, including the benefit of combining in-flight testing with CFD models.