Photostory #508: New Wind Tunnel for Canada

Ted Grant
National Film Board of Canada, Still Photography Division
Release Date
July 1, 1970
CMCP fonds
Credit Line
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archive
Main Text
In progress Photostory 1/9 : Ranking among the six largest in the world, the National Research Council's new low-speed wind tunnel has just gone into service at Ottawa's international airport. Designed for special programs of research into the design of V/STOL (vertical and short take-off-and-landing) aircraft, this $7,000,000 facility will help Canada develop and increase an already proven flair for producing outstanding aircraft of this particular type. _x000B__x000B_The first experimental program, now in progress in the 30-foot wind tunnel, is a series of tests on a one-fifth scale model of the new de Havilland DHC-7, four-engine, 48-passenger airliner. This aircraft is one of Canada's favorite entries in the race to win international markets for an aircraft to serve future air services between city-centres and major airports. That such feeder lines will soon be urgently needed is already being spelled out by the new super-airports planned or under construction in Canada, the USA, Great Britain and other countries, as well as by the growing numbers of 450-passenger jumbo-jets already in service and the imminent advent of the first super-sonics. _x000B__x000B_With the new wind tunnel in operation, Canadian scientists and engineers have an ultra-modern complex for studying not only the behavior of models of aircraft about to come into production but also for detailed aerodynamic research from which might well evolve new concepts of fundamental design. _x000B__x000B_The tunnel is in the form of a rectangle with sides 350 feet long by 100 feet wide. A 9,000 horsepower DC motor drives an eight-bladed, 38-foot-diameter fan which forces the air within the tunnel to circulate at speeds close to 200 feet per second in the 30 feet by 30 feet test section. In a smaller test section - 14 feet by 14 feet - this wind velocity can be doubled. Just upwind from the test section the walls of the tunnel expand to 82 feet in diameter in what is know as the settling chamber. Here, the air can be heated in winter or cooled in summer as it passes through a grill of pipes just before it is compressed to high speed by the constricting walls of the test section. _x000B__x000B_Major feature of the test section is the massive but extremely delicate balance system upon which test models are held. As the stationary model reacts to the passage of air driven through the test section (thereby producing the same effects as if the model itself were moving at speed through stationary air) the watching engineers and designers can tilt the model in any desired direction in relation to the flow. The balance system then measures the forces acting upon the aerodynamic surfaces and transmits the data to computers and read-out instruments on the control console. _x000B__x000B_In future, Canadian government programs of aeronautical research will be using an up-to-date, sophisticated scientific laboratory. And the nation's aerospace industry, famed for such products as Canadair's tilt-wing VTOL CL-84, in cooperation with the National Research Council, will have the benefit of a fine new testing ground.