UK-based built-environment specialist BRE is to begin testing an Airbus A300 forward fuselage cabin rig next month as part of two European Union (EU)-funded cabin comfort projects.

BRE's aircraft cabin environment (ACE) facility will simulate flights of up to 3.5 hours using crew and volunteer passengers to gauge human response to varying levels of temperature, humidity, noise and vibration in the cabin.

The EU's Friendly Aircraft Cabin Environment (FACE) project aims to improve environmental comfort for passengers, while the Health Effects in Aircraft Cabin Environment project will look at the impact of aircraft environment on flight and cabin crew.

BRE's ACE test rig is a 17m (56ft)-long A300 forward fuselage section comprising the flightdeck, passenger cabin and two galleys. More than 40 passengers can be accommodated in the main cabin area and there is space behind the rear galley for further seating or other experimental work. Typical environmental conditions will be set up for each stage of the simulated flights, from take-off to landing, with the crew and passengers reporting on the effects. A total of 18 "flights" are planned up to the end of July.

"The inter-relationship of key parameters such as noise, vibration, temperature, low humidity, air velocity, air distribution and re-circulation can be investigated," says BRE, "as can associated issues such as lighting, seating, multimedia systems, cabin stowage and security".

FACE is a four-year Alenia Aeronautica-co-ordinated project under the Technology Platform in the EU's 5th Framework Programme. Its €35 million ($39 million) budget is jointly funded by the EU and a consortium of 30 partners. FACE aims to improve environmental comfort in the cabins and cockpits of future European turbofan-powered aircraft, and addresses noise, vibration and air quality technology. Cabin acoustics work will include studies of the structural-acoustic behaviour of composite fuselages using barrels derived from the EU's Tango and Fubacomb projects.

Source: Flight International