HOW DO YOU BRAKE IN A POOL?
New aircraft models are subjected to at least 2,000 hours of terrifying manoeuvres before they can carry their first passenger. This Airbus A350, for instance, simulated landing on a runway flooded with water to a depth of 23mm. The jet sped through 50 cubic metres of the liquid at up to 242 km/h and had to stay on track when braking, despite aquaplaning. “We also demonstrated that no water splashed into the turbines,” explains test engineer Jean-christophe Bonjour. This element is just one part of an extensive approval procedure. “Our tests involve forces many times higher than those that arise during even the most severe turbulence,” describes test pilot Wolfgang Absmeier. “If you saw them, you’d think that the plane wouldn’t be able to fly. But it can.”