The National Research Council of Canada and Arctic Aerospace Developing Wing Modification Kit for Cessna Caravan Aircraft

June 20, 2011 — The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Arctic Aerospace Inc. have signed a partnership to develop a wing modification kit for the Cessna Caravan aircraft. Using the analytical data prepared by NRC, Arctic is designing and certifying the kit, which comprises innovative leading edge cuffs and winglets to improve operational performance of the aircraft under hot and high conditions. The kit also reduces fuel consumption and improves the aircraft’s flight characteristics in icing conditions.

NRC was tasked with the preliminary analysis of the root and tip wing sections in order to gain insight into the aerodynamic performance characteristics of the proposed modifications. NRC was also contracted to develop the wing and fuselage loads analysis and conduct a full flight test program.

This soon to be certified modification includes contiguous winglets and leading edge cuffs and has the potential to reduce reference speeds and reduce drag. It also aims to increase maximum landing weights with no flaps deployed. To accomplish this, a drooped leading-edge extension is designed which will extend the wing chord by 100mm to the entire span of the wing. Studies are underway to confirm predicted improvements in performance parameters such as take-off and landing distance, en route climb performance, service ceiling, cruise speed and range.

The reduced drag results in reduced fuel burn. Preliminary flight-testing of the configuration has indicated the potential for reduced ice accretion under applicable conditions. It is predicted that reductions in reference speeds may permit increases in maximum take-off weight (MTOW) and maximum landing weight (MLW) based on maximum stall speeds defined in FAR 23 type certification requirements.

This partnership was made under the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), which aims to stimulate innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada. “Upon the project’s completion, Arctic Aerospace will produce a new leading edge cuff and winglet for all models of the Cessna Caravan aircraft,” says IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA), Tony Edgar. “The knowledge and data gained from this research and development work could be leveraged for future development work for similar products on other aircraft types.”

With the Caravan modification certificate, Arctic Aerospace will possess the knowledge, capabilities and processes for the design, manufacturing, documentation, testing, airworthiness certification and installation of leading edge cuffs and winglets for the global market for FAR Part 23 category aircraft.

“NRC’s direct involvement in our certification program has been nothing short of spectacular,” says Steve Clippingdale, Strategic Project Manager of Arctic Aerospace. “Their knowledge and professionalism has allowed this market-worthy kit to arrive better and faster than we could have imagined, and without us having to expand our own R&D department.”

For over 60 years, IRAP has been stimulating wealth creation for Canada through technological innovation. IRAP helps innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow stronger, grow faster, grow bigger through innovation and technology. This is largely accomplished by providing technology assistance to SMEs at all stages of the innovation process, to build their innovation capacity.

Located in Richmond, British Columbia, Arctic Aerospace Inc. designs, fabricates and installs custom aircraft modifications to improve the performance and versatility of the flying experience. Specializing in Cessna 185 and bush plane enhancements, Arctic prides itself on delivering quality turnkey modifications and customer service.

About the National Research Council Canada Recognized globally for research and innovation, the National Research Council Canada is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology. Its Institute for Aerospace Research is Canada's national aerospace laboratory, undertaking and promoting research and development in support of the Canadian aerospace community in matters affecting the design, manufacture, performance, use and safety of aerospace vehicles.