42 TechnologyCase StudiesDeveloping a pioneering wind tunnel system

Developing a pioneering wind tunnel system

The Aircraft Research Association (ARA) sought to develop a new gust generator within one of its wind-tunnels, capable of simulating gusts at transonic, or cruising, speeds that are typically experienced by aircraft.

Wind tunnel

42 Technology designed the system to link the generator’s control desk with a network of 1800 solenoid valves, each of which needs to be opened and closed within 20 milliseconds to deliver the required gust profiles. 42 Technology worked with electronics manufacturer Briton EMS to deliver the installation in four two metre high electronics cabinets in under two months from project start.

The new generator, the first of its kind in the world, will help drive new research into improving understanding of how turbulence affects aircraft performance and is part of an investment at ARA in new systems and services, funded to the order of £9M by the Aerospace Technology Institute. The tool could help manufacturers to modify their aircraft designs or to develop systems to compensate for gusts, leading to smoother flights.

42 Technology and Briton EMS have been instrumental in helping to develop ARA’s new gust generator and to meet the demanding delivery deadlines for this large-scale project. Their engineers worked very well alongside our in-house team to develop and integrate the control system and to help us launch a world first for aerospace research.

Kevin Williams, chief engineer at ARA.