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Stirling Dynamics supports WheelTug flight tests

Posted 25 August 2020 · Add Comment

Stirling Dynamics is supporting the WheelTug programme as it reaches a critical milestone.

Image courtesy: Stirling Dynamics

Commencing in late August 2020, the in-wheel electric taxi system programme, WheelTug, will be undertaking a series of flight tests to characterise the landing gear and airframe. The flight tests, specified and planned by Stirling Dynamics, will be used to gather data for the validation of certification models.

The pioneering concept being developed by WheelTug aims to address upcoming challenges that aircraft operators will need to meet, including emissions and efficiency targets.The WheelTug system, which consists of a nose wheel mounted motor and drive powered by the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), has the goal of saving time, engine life and fuel use, resulting in reduced emissions and significant cost savings for aircraft operators. Stirling Dynamics has been working on the WheelTug programme since 2016 in variety of capacities, from conducting a preliminary loads analysis to designing a brand-new landing gear nose wheel and is now responsible for certification of the landing gear on behalf of WheelTug. The aircraft being used for the flight tests is a Boeing 737-800.

Commenting on the flight tests, WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox said: “Stirling Dynamics was selected as a partner by WheelTug due to their comprehensive engineering expertise, along with their experience with landing gear design and analysis for a wide range of aircraft. We are delighted to have Stirling team on board during these critical activities as we move one step closer to certification.”

Once flight testing is complete, the Stirling Dynamics team will use the data generated to validate the re-engineered models of the landing gear and airframe. This work will support the certification of the modified nose landing gear with the WheelTug system installed. 

Managing Director of Stirling Dynamics, Jeff Hoyle, stated: “It’s fantastic to see the progress being made with the WheelTug system. Our engineering team is working tirelessly to help bring this disruptive technology to the market. We look forward to continuing our support and relationship with the WheelTug team on this innovative programme”. 
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