Momentum Aeronautics

Momentum Completes Flight Test Program for Q400 Carbon Brakes

Momentum Completes Flight Test Program for Q400 Carbon Brakes

On January 31, 2020,
Q400 on climb-out for another test run

Momentum Aeronautics, LLC, is announcing the completion of a flight test program at the Mansfield, Ohio airport in support of an FAA Part Manufacturing Approval (PMA) for an advanced carbon-carbon brake system applicable to Q400 aircraft. The carbon brake system tested for this aircraft will significantly reduce weight while improving serviceability.

Our customer for this flight test program had a particular challenge: limited time was available to use their client’s aircraft in support of the test program. Furthermore, testing in the United States with a Canadian registered aircraft was required – considerable FAA and Transport Canada coordination was a necessity. Time overruns for testing could potentially be costly and disruptive. There was little room for error. Momentum’s detailed knowledge of the airworthiness, instrumentation, testing and certification requirements would be needed to meet project goals.

Momentum started by working with the applicant and the FAA to clearly define the test requirements and path to completion. Considerable coordination was performed with the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) and multiple Manufacturing Inspection District Offices (MIDO). It was arranged for Transport Canada to issue a special airworthiness certificate, which was followed by a special flight authorization in the United States, allowing the foreign-registered experimental aircraft to transition to the test area for execution.

On-site, Momentum’s engineering team sprung into pre-coordinated action complete with airworthiness inspectors, a designated flight test pilot, instrumentation team, and support crew. The motions of the entire team were orchestrated prior to aircraft arrival to help ensure a smooth and flawless test program. Everything from the required aircraft ballast to the necessary calibrations to fuel was ready to go. Flight test data was collected efficiently and effectively using Momentum’s dedicated GPS recording system. Flight test analysis was accomplished in real-time during the test program to compare measured performance data to publish book values. This real-time feedback was provided immediately to the customer and test pilots while on-site.

A400 taxing back after a successful test sortie

Momentum’s detailed understanding of the path to completion and each task along that path led to a successful flight test program that was completed on-time and on-budget. “Our company is extremely adept at understanding the intricacies of certification along with the practicalities of running a flight test program,” said Kyle Taylor, Momentum Chief Engineer. “I am incredibly proud of our team and the level of service they provided to our customer. This flight test program was accomplished with aplomb every step of the way. Operating a Q400 aircraft is certainly not an inexpensive endeavor and we were able to make incredibly effective use of the time we had, keeping expense to a minimum.”