Bombardier Unveils BWB Project Partners

Bombardier BWB
Credit: Bombardier / Guillaume Plisson

Bombardier has revealed the University of Victoria Centre for Aerospace Research (CfAR) and British Columbia’s Quaternion Aerospace as the initial academic partners in its EcoJet blended wing body (BWB) business jet study project.

Based in North Saanich, British Columbia (BC), CfAR specializes in unmanned air systems research including micro air vehicles, joined wing configurations and BWBs. SME Quaternion Aerospace, located in nearby Sidney, BC, is a small research and development company focused on the design, manufacture and operation of novel aircraft designs for both the manned and unmanned air systems market.

Bombardier says the collaborative work on the design and fabrication of the EcoJet flight test vehicles “involves multidisciplinary teams, consisting of Québec-based Bombardier engineers and technicians, along with BC researchers, engineers and students. All flight campaigns on BWB scale test vehicles, which have been exploring the prototypes’ behavior in free flight and perfecting their radically different flight control laws, are the fruit of this tight collaboration,” it adds.

The disclosure of the BWB test and development partners comes seven years after Bombardier began secret flight tests of an 8-ft. span scaled demonstrator of the vehicle which is based on a mild blended-wing-body configuration with a slender lifting fuselage, distinct high-aspect-ratio wings and U-tail. The Bombardier project moved onto a larger 18-ft. span EcoJet demonstrator which flew for the first time in 2022.

Tests initially focused on evaluating baseline shaping and aerodynamics which paved the way for the current phase which is concentrating on systems and design aspects of the interior, as well as a potentially larger sub-scale demonstrator.

Speaking to Aviation Week at the EBACE business aircraft show in Geneva, Switzerland, in May, Stephen McCullough, vice president of engineering at Bombardier said, “it’s getting to a stage now where it’s quite representative and now what we’re starting to look at is more about what systems support that, what configuration supports that and how do you want the inside of the cabin to be.”

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.