Bombardier flight tests all-electric braking system

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A Bombardier testbed aircraft equipped entirely with an all-electric braking system has executed its first flight, in an event being heralded as a civil aviation first by the Canadian airframer.

Bombardier's Global 5000 flying testbed aircraft was modified by removing its hydraulically actuated brake-by-wire control system and replacing it with Meggitt's so-called EBrake suite that features electro-mechanically actuated brakes, brake data concentrators, electronic motor actuation control units and supporting aircraft wiring and power distribution.

The aircraft was also equipped with Messier-Dowty's landing gear with electric brake wiring harnesses.

Testing lasted in excess of seven hours, included five landings and a series of high-speed braked ground runs, says Bombardier.

global 5000
 © Bombardier

"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," says Gary Bruce, pilot in command of the test flight.

Although Bombardier used the Global 5000 for the test, it does not plan to equip its business jets with an all-electric braking system.

Rather, Bombardier believes the technology is more applicable to commercial aircraft, says a spokesman for the company.

The key benefits of this new technology, says Bombardier, 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".

Bombardier has said it intends to use electric brakes on its 110/130-seat CSeries aircraft. However, it has not confirmed if it will choose Meggitt's system, notes the spokesman.

Meggitt's system will remain on the test aircraft for an extended period of time to validate the robustness and reliability of its design.

The company currently supplies wheels and hydraulic brakes for Bombardier's Learjet 60 XR and Challenger 605 and 850 jets. Those products are also featured on the CRJ200 commercial jet.

Bombardier offers the Meggitt total hydraulic braking system on its CRJ700/900 aircraft.