NLR again tests PH-LAB for improvement of European laws and regulations at Twente Airport

Gerard van Es, project manager of the Netherlands Aerospace Center, is very pleased with Twente Airport as a test site. He and a number of colleagues are bivouacking at Twente for a few days to conduct water tests with NLR's Cessna 550 Citation II on behalf of the European Commission.

Gerard: 'Twente Airport has a long and wide runway and it is still quiet in terms of air traffic. Perfect conditions for test flights with our PH-LAB'. The project leader is so enthusiastic that he will certainly promote Twente Airport as a test location to aircraft manufacturers.


The braking tests are being conducted as part of the European Future Sky Safety program. The aim of the program is to reduce a certain type of accident caused by an aircraft running off the runway. This happens on a weekly basis worldwide, and one of the causes is water on the runway. Gerard explains: "With our tests, we gain knowledge of braking on a wet runway. For this we use our test aircraft with a modern braking system and modern tires, similar to those of a Boeing or Airbus. The PH-LAB is full of sensitive sensors. Ultimately, based on the research results, regulations must be improved'. The European program will also continue next year, but it is not yet known whether water tests will be carried out again then.


NLR is now familiar with Twente Airport as a test site, as last year water tests were also conducted with the PH-LAB and an Airbus A400, a fairly new military transport aircraft. 'Last year we did tests with about 15-16 mm of water on the runway. This year we are doing it with half. Some 12-14 runs are made through the water trough, braked and unbraked, at 50-100 knots,' Gerard said. 'The water stays on the runway because a large rubber band is applied to it. The water comes from the Twente Canal. Loonbedrijf Meilof from Smilde sucked up the water with a pumping system and transported it in two large trucks. One day of testing required 76,000 liters of water.

Photos Remco de Wit

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