Electrical Engineer, Cyber Security (purple hat), Drones & Robotics, Professor, And an entrepreneur

Drones Wind Tunnel Test With NRC National Research Canada

Tamimi October 13, 2022 [Professional] #Drone #Robots #Wind Tunnel #Research #UAV #5G #Cellular #DJI #Autel

🚧Note: This article is in progress, some minor future edits might be added, as well as some extra media where is needed.🚧

vid1: National Research Canada (NRC) Air Mobility Program. "The Integrated Aerial Mobility program draws on the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) expertise in aerospace, energy, advanced materials and digital technologies to overcome the technical and regulatory challenges of the next generation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The program supports the safe and responsible integration of UAS into national airspace." Source: NRC Site


This work is part of the participation with NRC (National Research Canada1) on testing drones and drone's payload in different wind tunnels tests.

NRC published full documentation and comprehensive report about these tests, I will update this page once I get my hands on them and/or the permissions to publish these tests.

These tests are part of the Integrated Aerial Mobility program, a 7-year program2, launched in 2019, is already developing the technologies that will make this vision a reality, including:

The National Research Council is helping to prepare for the future of Urban Air Mobility. That's the coming world where intra-urban drone flights are routine - and where airspace is seamlessly shared with traditional crewed aircraft. As the NRC states on this page:

The vertical take-off and landing capability of UAS promises to transform mobility by alleviating congestion in our cities.

NRC Wind tunnel

Img1: NRC Wind Tunnel

The work was done in two years with different scopes, listed as below:

2021 Tests: Enterprise drones with custom payloads, indoor wind tunnel

In this year's test, it was primarily to test several specific drones at a varied wind speed, these drones were mostly an enterprise ones with a custom payloads, that would allow to capture data that are usually are not available even in these drones' manufacturers site.

M300 with custom payload

Img2: The Matrice M300 with a custom built on-board SBC and a payload

The test area allowed the pilot to have enough space to manuever and also to monitor the drone during the test.

The windtunnel test area The windtunnel test area

Img3/4: The windtunnel test area

The test area is 2x3 meters tunnel, and equipped with all the necessarily tools for various tests. Some of the tunnel characteristics are:

Test section1.9 m × 2.7 m × 5.2 m
Contraction ratio9:1
Fan power1.5 MW
Maximum speed130 m/s
Turbulence level0.14%
Compressed airup to 2,000 kPa
Dew point (40°C)2.7 kg/s

The test tunnel also had a safety net, the purpose of this net is as you would expect. to capture the drone once it reaches the point where the wind speed is strong enough for the drone to maintain its balance, and it was useful!

The windtunnel safety net in action The windtunnel safety net in action The windtunnel safety net in action

Img5/6/7: The windtunnel safety net in action

Although despite the stress and high wind the drones went through, we didn't have any major accidents, the only issues we had was broken props from hitting the net.

broken props broken props

Img8/9: No major crashes, only minor props had to be replaced in the field, so it's all good!

2022 Tests: Consumer drones in different turbulence/wind conditions, outdoor wind tunnel

outdoor tunnel

Img10: The outdoor windtunnel

In 2022 tests, the wind tunnel placed outside and had a different tests to do, the main objective was to test several consumer drones, however, it will be tested in different wind conditions and artificial obstacles, to mimic the urban environments.

vid1: Several Tests were done, as seen above, we flew the drones per NRC instructions in the wind tunnel

vid2: The turbulence tests, as you can see above, different obstacles/turbulence were used to simulate different environments. Videos source: NRC.

Note: I will update this section if I got the detailed report and the permission to publish it.

All the tests were done successfully, and zero drone crashes were happened! Kudos to the team!

Drone team

Img11: Myself and the my colleagues, Ella and Liam

2022 Integrated Aerial Mobility Program

In the same year, the NRC also hosted the Integrated aerial mobility program, inviting several organizations in the industry as well as other regulatory entities like Transport Canada, highly recommend to follow NRC progress in this domain.

Drone team Drone team

Img12/13: Integrated aerial mobility program - 2022

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NRC Site

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