Technical tours will be provided by the National Research Council Canada, Area X.O, OC Transpo, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. While on-road, off-road, and rail vehicles will be the focus of the technical tours, aero vehicles or marine vehicles will be covered as well by some of the technical tours.

National Research Council Canada (NRC)

Areas: on-road, off-road, rail, and aero

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) is the primary national agency of the Government of Canada dedicated to science and technology research & development. It is the largest federal research & development organization in Canada.

1. Climatic testing research facility

NRC's climatic testing facility provides a single location to test vehicle, rail car and component performance under an exceptionally wide range of conditions. Whether your application is climatic evaluation of the HVAC system in full-size rail cars, the testing of a new de-icing agent, a torture test for new systems in a military vehicle – or so much more, our facility will get you there faster and with certainty.

Designed specifically to evaluate the performance of even the longest and largest commercial and military equipment, vehicles and components under severe climatic conditions, the climatic testing facility can produce temperatures ranging from -46°C to +55°C.

A full suite of instrumentation and 500+ channels for data recording keeps track of performance under controlled conditions of snow, rain, freezing rain, ice, and fog – and even a combination of those conditions, changing where needed over a period of time to simulate changing weather.

Measuring 30 m in length, 6 m in width, and 6 m in height, the test chamber in the climatic testing facility is one of the largest and most versatile of its type in North America.

360° video: Climatic Testing Facility - National Research Council Canada

2. Heavy structural dynamics lab research facility

For heavy road and rail vehicles, vibration and shock are a constant – and often costly – fact of life.

To study these dynamics and manage their effects, the NRC maintains one of North America's most versatile vehicle vibration testing facilities.

Able to accurately reproduce vehicle responses measured in the field, the lab is an indispensable tool for controlled investigations and accelerated test programs of rail and road vehicles and components.

In the lab, a selection of hydraulic actuators can be configured to provide inputs to your vehicle, sub-system or component as required. Test plans can be created to address a wide variety of vibration and shock issues.

MTS Remote Parameter Control software generates precise reproductions of field-measured forces and displacements. Alternatively, the system can generate random, sinusoidal, step, sawtooth or other vibration patterns to sweep through problem areas and pinpoint issues.

3. Heavy vehicle tilt research facilities

When fleet operators, designers and modifiers need to know the static rollover threshold of their tractor trailer, tanker, straight truck or military vehicle, they visit our Heavy vehicle tilt facilities.

The facilities can measure roll response characteristics for modeling and verification of centre of gravity height estimates, as well as help identify the root cause of any vehicle rollover incident.

Consisting of a hydraulically actuated tilt table, electronic wheel scales for all axle groups and an extensive range of instruments that measure table angle, suspension angle and body angle, the Heavy vehicle tilt facilities are designed to measure the static rollover threshold and stability of any vehicle used in Canada, at any load level.

Vehicles up to 86.6 ft (26.4 m) in length and weighing 65 tons (59,000 kg) can be tilted up to 35° from the horizontal, under controlled conditions. First wheel liftoff as well as complete vehicle rollover can be determined, all without any damage to the vehicle and its suspension components.

In addition to rollover threshold, the tilt table can also be used to measure load transfer ratio, wheel and axle loads and suspension roll centre heights.

A second tilt table, located indoors, provides equivalent services for smaller vehicles (up to wheelbases of 24 ft (7.3 m) in length), with high weight concentrations and unusual features. The indoor table tilts to nearly 50°, is climate controlled and may be used all year.

4. Rail vehicle impact ramp research facility

When In freight yards and on railway lines across North America, rail vehicles are frequently subjected to considerable strain when they experience longitudinal coupler impact forces that are measured in hundreds of thousands of pounds.

To ensure that cars and their cargo can withstand these stresses, the NRC offers a rail vehicle impact ramp with over a hundred channels of instrumentation to test, certify and improve performance.

Unique in Canada, the facility is certified by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and uses a tow-car to place rail vehicles at predetermined locations on the ramp to achieve the desired impact speeds or forces when impacting into stationary anvil cars on the level track at the bottom of the ramp.

It can be used to perform impact tests for a variety of certification specifications, verifying design specifications, and conducting rolling squeeze tests.

Tests are conducted at speeds up to 16 mi/h (25 km/h) and decelerations of up to 4 g.

5. Compression and tension testing facility

The NRC offers stationary compression and tension test services in a rail vehicle squeeze and tension compression facility.

Available to industry to test and assess the structural integrity of rail cars, subway and intermodal vehicles, the facility houses a squeeze and tension frame – part of a complete solution to rail vehicle testing requirements which includes the rail vehicle impact ramp at the same location.

Designed for use by rail, subway and intermodal road/rail vehicles, our facility allows manufacturers to test car body structural strength and integrity, verify compliance with rail industry standards, and tests new drawbar devices for strength and lateral stability – all in a single location.

The facility itself is a frame consisting of twin parallel steel I–beams, two track-supported end pieces, and a double–acting hydraulic ram that can impart up to 1.25x106 lbf (5.56 MN) of longitudinal compression, and 400,000 lbf (1.78 MN) of tension force.

With signals from strain gauges, load cells and displacement sensors, facility engineers are able to tabulate detailed stress analysis reports and can marry them with finite element models and stress and fatigue analyses.

6. Wheel bearing and brake facility

The NRC Railway running gear components are the most highly stressed parts of the car and they are the number one cost item in most railways' rolling stock maintenance programs.

The NRC's wheel bearing and brake facility allows you to reduce wear and cut maintenance costs by identifying component concerns, limitations and failure potential before they become realities.

Our facility gives you a whole new dimension of analysis and problem solving to reduce wear and cut costs.

Virtually every part of the highly stressed running gear system can be mounted on the facility and run up to a wide range of speeds. The whole array of forces and stresses are imposed on the components and held, or swept, to reproduce the operating environment. Under these conditions, their limitations and failure modes begin to appear.

The facility can reproduce speeds up to 85 mi/h (136 km/h), axle loads double that of a 125-ton (113,000 kg) car, angles of attack up to ±27 mrad, and a wide range of water, grease and sand contamination.

The facility excels at reducing premature wheel wear and failure due to bearing and brake overheating.

7. Nine metre wind tunnel research facility

The 9 m wind tunnel is a large, state-of-the-art, high-security facility capable of accommodating a variety of surface vehicles, ground-based structures and aerospace models. Operated by experienced engineers and technicians, it is the facility of choice for several international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

This facility has a proven record of adapting to a variety of unique test requirements and offers great value in the large-scale testing arena. Major renovations were recently carried out on its fan drive, balance weigh-beam controls and data acquisition systems, as well as on important mechanical components, such as the cooling system and main drive shaft components.

The ability to test in a repeatable environment with direct measurement of drag enables significant performance gains through the summation of several small improvements. Custom systems dedicated to truck testing allow the test efficiency required to cost-effectively develop models at full-scale Reynolds number. In addition, the 9 m wind tunnel's size allows the testing of real vehicles, which offers a cost-effective method for benchmarking performance without building dedicated models.

To address automotive OEM needs, the facility now has a ground simulation system. The flow represents on-road conditions more closely, increasing the fidelity of drag and lift measurements and giving confidence in underbody development activities. The availability of a 30 ft trailer on site provides a unique value proposition for commercial truck manufacturers looking for high Reynolds number, low-interference simulation.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the 9 Metre Wind Tunnel is the largest of 6 such facilities operated by the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) Aerospace Research Centre. The tunnel itself is 274 m long, and has a volume of some 47,000 m3 (about 18 Olympic swimming pools). The test section floor space is 9 m x 22.9 m, with a ceiling 9 m high. Over the past 5 decades, it has played an important role in Canada's aerospace, surface transportation, and building industries by giving companies access to a large multifunctional research facility.

The NRC’s 9 metre wind tunnel turns 50!

50th anniversary of 9m Wind Tunnel – video

8. Centre for air travel research

The Centre for Air Travel Research (CATR) at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is the only facility in the world designed to study the full experience of travelling by air. Inaugurated in 2018, the CATR and its team of experts work with academia and companies of all sizes to deliver world‑leading research for safe and healthy air travel experiences.

The facility includes all the features found in modern air travel to simulate the process of checking‑in, boarding and flying in an airplane. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers can customize the facility to meet their needs and use the space to conduct research using passengers in a realistic environment.

This facility, with its ability to recreate the airport terminal spaces as well as the aircraft cabin environment, is also a key enabler in helping the industry offer a safer and healthier air travel experience in light of the current COVID‑19 pandemic.

CATR consists of four laboratories (Airport terminal laboratory, Flexible cabin laboratory, Fuselage laboratory, and Human vibration laboratory), with each playing a unique role in recreating the air travel experience.

Centre for air travel research - Video - National Research Council Canada

9. Research aircraft fleet

The NRC maintains a fleet of highly specialized and customizable rotary and fixed-wing research aircraft to assist industry with the testing and demonstration of aeronautical technologies in the areas of airborne research, flight mechanics and avionics. Our facilities are also used to support pilot education and certifications.

Our aircraft are housed in Ottawa but we travel all over the world to meet our clients' needs.

The NRC's fleet of aircraft includes:

Bell 412 (4-DOF airborne simulator)

  • The NRC Bell 412 Advanced Systems Research Aircraft (ASRA) is configured as a 4-DOF simulator for research in airborne simulation, handling qualities, advanced controls, active controls, pilot-vehicle interfaces and aircraft systems. ASRA is outfitted with advanced technology that makes it an ideal platform for research into digital fly-by-wire control systems, precise guidance and navigation, and active control systems. Advanced fly-by-wire features give ASRA a powerful variable stability and control capability, and an airborne simulation capability for air vehicle design and operational research and development.
  • As a sophisticated research test bed, ASRA allows researchers to investigate the impact on situational awareness, safety and mission performance of new control, guidance, navigation and communication technologies. The aircraft also serves to test advanced pilot-vehicle interfaces such as smart displays, helmet-mounted displays, synthetic vision systems, integrated hand controllers, and direct voice input.

Bell 205 (4-DOF airborne simulator)

  • The highly modified fly-by-wire Bell 205A helicopter is configured as a 4-DOF simulator for research in airborne simulation, handling qualities and advanced controls, pilot-vehicle interfaces and aircraft systems. The Bell 205 Airborne Simulator is outfitted with single axis full authority fly-by-wire controls, programmable inceptors and a force-sensing side arm that makes it an ideal platform for research into digital fly-by-wire control systems and human interface issues.
  • As a sophisticated research test bed, the Bell 205 Airborne Simulator allows researchers to investigate the impact on situational awareness, safety and mission performance of advanced pilot-vehicle interfaces such as smart displays, helmet-mounted displays, synthetic vision systems, integrated hand controllers, and direct voice input.
  • The aircraft includes a sophisticated graphics display capability, a close support computing system for software development and testing, and a special display development facility (DDF) for ground-based validation of advanced cockpit technologies to be demonstrated in the airborne simulator.

Bell 206 (single-engine helicopter)

  • The Bell 206B is a single-engine, teetering rotor, light-utility helicopter with dual flight controls and provisions for two research crews in the back seat, including an instrumented flight test engineering station. The NRC proprietary modular instrumentation architecture facilitates easy installation of additional channels for specific experimental requirements. Data from the Bell 206 instrumentation package has been used in the development of simulation facilities for the military and for private industry goggles as well as testing new avionics systems such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast units.
  • The Bell 206 plays a significant role in human factors research in the evaluation of new cockpit technologies, including helmet mounted displays and night vision. It has been equipped with night-vision-goggle (NVG) compatible lighting and serves as a test platform for night vision goggles and related systems for military, law enforcement, regulatory authorities, and others.

Convair 580 (twin-engine aircraft)

  • The Convair 580 is a twin-engine, pressurized aircraft capable of long distance operation carrying several racks of instrumentation and up to a dozen research crew members. It is also a multi-purpose flying laboratory supporting projects in atmospheric studies (low-level smog in urban areas, cloud physics, cloud chemistry, aircraft icing), gradient aeromagnetics, advanced navigation, spotlight synthetic aperture radar and precision aircraft positioning using differential global positioning system (DGPS) techniques.
  • The aircraft also features a suite of standard research support capabilities that include high-speed data acquisition systems, multi-camera video recording systems, free-stream chemistry sampling inlets, multiple navigation sensors, high bandwidth data-link communications, electro-optic and infrared sensors, wing-mounted pylons, and wingtip-mounted pods.

Falcon 20 (twin-engine business jet)

  • The Falcon 20 is a twin-engine business jet, capable of relatively high speed and altitude operations with a small complement of instrumentation and research crew. It has been modified for use in microgravity experiments requiring parabolic flight trajectories and equipment operating for periods at low g. With an extensive onboard data acquisition system, the aircraft can also be used for airborne geosciences studies, avionics research and aircraft based sensor research.
  • This aircraft is also equipped with separate feeder tanks from which the pilots can select different fuels for each flight segment, allowing for a portion of a flight to take place with an experimental fuel that may only be available in limited quantities. This capability makes it an ideal vehicle to support our clients' alternative fuels research.

Harvard (single-engine propeller aircraft)

  • The Harvard is a post-war single-engine propeller aircraft used extensively by the Royal Canadian Air Force for flight training. It is capable of high-g "aerobatic" manoeuvers and carries 2 pilots and an advanced instrumentation package in the rear seat. Its flying qualities make it an ideal demonstrator for out-of-control recovery technique training and the rear cockpit can be modified to host advanced avionic displays. The unique display capability allows prototyping and assessment of novel and unique flight display technologies to aircrew in a broad range of flight conditions

Twin Otter (twin-engine turboprop aircraft)

  • The Twin Otter aircraft is a twin-engine, unpressurized turboprop high wing STOL aircraft capable of 2-3 hour operations with a moderate amount of instrumentation. It is also a world-class, fully instrumented airborne platform for a wide range of atmospheric and biospheric studies, and for flight mechanics and flight systems development.
  • Research equipment installations on this aircraft include real-time digital computing and displays, modern navigation and guidance systems, state-of-the-art air data sensing, a control surface position measurement system, incident and reflected solar radiation systems, weather radar, video recording suite, laser particle spectrometers, electro-optic and infrared sensors systems, and a satellite simulator.

T-33 (vintage fighter jet)

  • The T-33 is a 1960s vintage "fighter" jet used extensively by the air force for flight training requirements. It is capable of high performance, high altitude operations with 2 pilots and a small instrument package.
  • This high-speed (to 500 KIAS), high G (-3.0 to +7.33), fully instrumented research aircraft is equipped for pressure standard calibrations (precise in-flight static pressure measurement), in-flight turbulence measurement (accurate three-axis gust measurement) and flight mechanics research (accurate measurement of aircraft motion versus control input).

10. Reverberant acoustic chamber research facility

Unique in Canada, the NRC's reverberant acoustic chamber is a specialized, high‑intensity noise testing facility that is used for testing full‑size aerospace components at high levels of sound pressure field.

Our acoustic facilities are registered to the ISO 9001 quality management system and produce quality test results that continually exceed our clients' expectations. Our experienced, professional and dedicated research staff is on hand to support clients' testing requirements from start to finish, from design of experiments to the creation of reports. Testing is tailored to our clients' projects, and we customize testing approaches and assist our clients in interpreting results.

The NRC's noise testing facility operates two reverberation chambers. The small acoustic chamber measures 4.6 m × 4.6 m × 3.1 m and can supply a sound pressure level greater than 120 dB. The larger facility, with dimensions of 6.9 m × 9.75 m × 7.98 m, is able to generate overall sound pressure levels up to 158 dB through the use of Wyle WAS3000 airstream modulators and gas jets supplied by dry compressed air.

The closed‑loop controller analyzes and controls the noise level in the chamber automatically to ensure accurate spectrum shaping between 25 Hz and 20,000 Hz with tight tolerances. The noise spectra in the chambers has been shaped to match specifications of the space shuttle, rocket launches, aircraft structural excitation, engine nacelle noise, unsteady turbulent airflows and other specifications.

The high bay preparation area is a clean room facility with humidity and temperature control. To handle large test articles, there is a 7,000 kg DEMAG overhead crane in the clean room, a 7,500 kg MUNCK overhead crane in the intermediate room and a 6,300 kg ASEA overhead crane inside the reverberant chamber room, as well as a 30,000 lb capacity large fork lift truck for cargo loading.

Area X.O

Areas: on-road, off-road, rail, and aero

Here is a video about Area X.O: YouTube video

More information will be available soon.

OC Transpo

Areas: on-road and rail

Here is a video about one of the simulators in OC Transpo: YouTube video

More information will be available soon.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Areas: rail, aero, and marine

Here is a video about the TSB Engineering Laboratory: YouTube video

More information will be available soon.

Conference Questions

If you have any questions or further inquiries, please kindly contact:

Email: [email protected]
Virginia Tech
Carleton University
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