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Tue, Apr 16, 2024

Flight Test Simulator Designed for Certification Testing of Automated Flight

Merlin Completes Certification System Bench FLight Test Simulator

Merlin has announced the completion of its Certification System Bench, a flight test simulator designed for certification testing of its advanced automation systems. The simulator, housed at Merlin's Boston headquarters, features certifiable software and hardware components, allowing for continuous testing regardless of weather, maintenance schedules, or pilot availability.

The Certification System Bench is equipped with cameras for remote testing and three screens that replicate the pilot deck, instrument panels, and primary flight displays. According to Sherif Ali, Chief Engineer for the certified Merlin Pilot project, the simulator acts as a testing funnel, enabling the rapid testing of hundreds of cases and reducing the need for in-flight testing. This investment is seen as crucial for accelerating Merlin's certification program and meeting timeline targets.

The simulator is a one-to-one replica of Merlin's in-flight technology, supporting the company's developmental approach by providing greater precision and speed. Ground tests on the Certification System Bench are accredited by regulatory authorities, expediting Merlin's path towards its supplemental type certification (STC). The simulator also offers greater accessibility and routine testing for Merlin's global team, mitigating test flight inhibitors such as weather and aircraft maintenance.

Matt George, CEO and founder of Merlin, emphasized that ensuring the Merlin Pilot's robustness, safety, and reliability is the company's top priority. The development of the Certification System Bench, which took six months and was built to stringent specifications, represents a significant milestone in Merlin's certification journey. Despite the simulator's cost being millions of dollars more than the actual aircraft, its ability to run continuously and without constraints is seen as a key factor in rapidly accelerating the certification program.

FMI: merlinlabs.com

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