Wooden tracks to speed up vibration tests

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In an effort to reduce new aircraft ground vibration testing from weeks to days, the German aerospace centre DLR has been pulling a specially instrumented Airbus A320 slowly across a wooden test track.

Ground vibration tests are used to validate computer simulations and the Airbus A320, DLR's advanced technology research aircraft, has had 140 acceleration-measuring sensors built in to detect the impact of the track on the airframe.

During the tests at Manching airport near Ingolstadt in southern Germany the instrumentation recorded the oscillation amplitudes of the wings and allowed researchers to identify structural behaviour.

dlr
 © DLR

"[These] are the first significant tests of this process using a large airliner," says the DLR. "[We] conducted the rolling trials using different fuelling configurations."

The taxi vibration test rolling trials had previously been conducted using a Dornier 228. According to the DLR, ground vibration tests for the Airbus A380 took about six weeks while a taxi vibration test could have been done in days.

DLR researchers also conducted a shortened conventional ground vibration test using electrodynamic vibration exciters. This will be used to validate the taxi trial results.