Sunset outside airplane window
Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Exploring innovation: A journey to the NRC Flight Research Laboratory

by Wendy

Earlier this year, students in the Collaborative Aeronautics Program visited the National Research Council of Canada’s Flight Research Laboratory in Ottawa. Wendy reflects on the value of this experience in her post about the trip.

Our visit to the National Research Council (NRC) Flight Research Laboratory in Ottawa proved to be a remarkable experience. Sitting right next to the Ottawa airport, the lab is dedicated to pioneering endeavours in areas like sustainable aviation, helicopter automation, wind tunnel simulation and more.

Students with NRC researcher

Sion Jennings (centre) shares insights with CAP students (from left) Xin, Wendy and Allison.

Senior Research Officer Mr. Sion Jennings, the esteemed leader of Human Factors Team at the NRC, gave us a warm welcome and a comprehensive introduction to the lab’s groundbreaking helicopter automation research project. Then, our tour extended to the lab’s hangar, where we saw all sorts of aircraft for different research projects. We got a chance to chat with another researcher focusing on electrical aircraft modifications. His work included so much creativity, and it turned sustainability from a grand concept to a reality. It's wild to see so many people working on making aviation more sustainable.

Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the overlap of the ongoing research in Mr. Jennings’ Human Factors Team and our personal research areas after each of us introduced our interests. There is no better experience than to see someone in the industry working on the same stuff, as you put a lot of effort into each day as a graduate student. You deeply feel that you speak the same language although you’ve never met before. In retrospect, our visit to the Flight Research Laboratory was valuable and inspiring. It was a journey that revealed great possibilities for the future, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.

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