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AERO2355 Systems Engineering 1

System testing
Testing the system to validate
that it meets its specification and
the objectives of its users
Different types of system testing
Development testing
integration testing,
stress testing
acceptance testing
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Development testing
Hardware and software components should be tested
as they are developed and as sub-systems are created.

These testing activities include:

Unit testing.
Module testing
Sub-system testing

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Bending wings testing
Many modern passenger jets can flex their wings nearly 90 degrees in a
test rig.
To see how the wings and fuselage would behave under both normal and
exceptional loads during their life, manufacturers perform so-called static
Airbus, for example, performed the ultimate load test on a specially built
static airframe of its A350 XWB Airbus in December 2013.
The planes wings received loads of up to 1.5 times higher than they would
ever encounter in service. And at ultimate load, the planes wingtip
deflection exceeded five metres that means the load bent the wing up
almost 90 degrees.

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Bending wings testing
The final test involves getting the aircraft wings to snap this helps find out
their breaking point, and ensures it is well beyond the predicted load level.
The wings are pulled up on a special rig until they crack under the strain

Wing test
Boeing 787 wing break
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Ingestion tests: birds and water
Even small birds can cause an engine to stall or

Most bird strikes cause little damage to the plane but

the collision is very often fatal to the bird.
Such accidents cause damage to commercial
aircraft costing some $1.2bn to repair every year.

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways Airbus A320 collided

with a flock of geese, and both engines were disabled.
The plane ditched into New York's Hudson River in a
text-book crash landing on water, with all 155 passengers
and crew safe, evacuating safely.

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Ingestion tests: birds and water
To ensure that engines continue to operate even after a bird strike,
engine manufacturers do just that: throw dead birds into test engines
on the ground with a so-called chicken gun a large-diameter,
compressed-air cannon.
To test what happens when large amounts of water get into the
engine, for example in case of heavy rain, planes taxi through a
specially made water tunnel.
Other tests, such as those which Boeing undertakes, force a steady
stream of water or fire loosely compacted ice into the engines to
mimic the effects of cruising through a hail cloud.
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System testing
Intended to test the system as a whole rather than
individual system components
Integration testing
As the system is integrated, it is tested by the system developer
for specification compliance
Stress testing
The behaviour of the system is tested under conditions of load

Acceptance testing
The system is tested by the customer to check if it conforms to
the terms of the development contract
Inevitably, system testing reveals errors which were
undiscovered during component testing

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Integration testing
Concerned with testing the system as it is
integrated from its components
Integration testing is normally the most expensive
activity in the systems integration process
Should focus on
Interface testing where the interactions between sub-
systems and components are tested
Property testing where system properties such as
reliability, performance and usability are tested

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Development and testing
Requir ements System System Detailed
specification specification design design

System Sub-system
integration integration System
test plan
test plan test plan implementation

Acceptance System Sub-system

test integration test integration test

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Integration test planning
Integration testing is complex and time-consuming
and planning of the process is essential. The larger the
system, the earlier this planning must start and the
more extensive it must be.
Integration test planning may be the responsibility of a
separate V & V (verification and validation) team. It
should always be undertaken by a group which is
separate from the development team.

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Test planning activities
Identify possible system tests using the
Prepare test cases and test scenarios to run these
system tests
Plan the development, if required, of tools such as
simulators to support system testing
Prepare, if necessary, operational profiles for the system
Schedule the testing activities and estimate testing costs

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Incremental testing A T1
T1 T2
T2 B T3
T3 T4
D T5

Test sequence Test sequence Test sequence

1 2 3

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Regression testing
Regression testing is an important component of
incremental testing. When a new increment is
added to the system, the tests which have been
run on the previous increment are run again
If these tests do not produce the same outputs as
before, this implies that the new increment has, in
some way, interfered with the functionality of the
existing system

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Interface testing
Probably the most common problem which arises
during system integration is interface problems
where sub-systems and components do not interact as
anticipated by their developers
These may not be detectable during earlier testing
phases because of interface misunderstandings or
because they are a consequence of the way in which
the interface is used

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Human-system interfaces
User interface tests should be concerned with:
Functionality - can end-users access the systems
functions through its user interface
Usability - can the system functionality be accessed
in a reasonable time and without too many user
Learnability - can end-users learn to use the system
in a reasonable time. Can they retain the knowledge
about the system which they have learned

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Stress testing
Exercises the system beyond its maximum design
The argument for stress testing is that system failures
are most likely to show themselves at the extremes of the
systems behaviour
Tests failure behaviour
When a system is overloaded, it should degrade
gracefully rather than fail catastrophically

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Hot and cold tests
To make sure engines, systems and materials work
properly under extremely hot temperatures and at high
altitude, manufacturers stage a hot and high campaign
to test aircraft in intense heat and freezing
For example, to examine the latest Airbus A350 XWBs
ability to withstand freezing temperatures, the plane
manufacturers engineers took it to Iqaluit, the capital of
Canada's Arctic territory of Nunavut.
It stayed there for a week, and the tests included
operating the plane on the ground and in the air in
temperatures as low as -28C (-18F) and performing
thrust-reversed tests with snow basically, the effects of
sudden braking that you might find on an aborted take-
The trials also include powering-up the aircraft after long
periods at low temperatures
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Hot and cold tests
Planes also spend about a week carrying out similar tests at
high altitude airfields like Cochabamba and La Paz (Bolivia),
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and others. La Paz is one of the
worlds highest airports at 13,300ft (4km) above sea level, and
Cochabamba is at around 8,300ft (2.5km) feet.
Using a plane at such high altitude airfields puts a huge strain
on the engines and other systems.
To test that everything operates smoothly, tests include several
take-offs with all engines operating and with simulated engine
failures, and the autopilot behaviour during automatic landings
and go-arounds (aborted landings) is also checked.

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Wing fuselage test
Boeing 777 Wing Loading Test

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Wind tunnel tests
Wind tunnels allow manufacturers to test all phases of
flight including extreme conditions.
Boeing conducts tests at its Research Aerodynamics
Icing Tunnel (Brait)
Test of a cross section of a wing to test de-icing systems.
The tunnel can test speeds between 60 and 250 knots
(110kp/h to 463kp/h) in temperatures as low as -40C (-
The facility allows Boeing to simulate many kinds of rain,
ice and cloud conditions that aeroplanes might
Flutter Wind Tunnel Testing
Boeing 777 Wing Flex Inflight Turbulence21
AERO2355 Systems Engineering
Virtual plane: Iron Bird
A ground testing facility called Aircraft Zero (Complete
Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area or Ciasta) in
Its basically a rig that has all the key systems of a typical
It is used to simulate an aircraft in flight virtually even
before the actual aircraft takes to the sky
Iron-birds can simulate all flight segments such as take-
off, cruise, landing, and so on, so that the aircraft is
virtually tested on real flights such as London to Dubai
without any actual flight taking place,
The simulation helps anticipate any potential structural
issues such as miniature cracks that could appear at a
specific point of an aircrafts service life

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Virtual plane: Iron Bird
It is even possible to virtually test for bird strikes
on the cockpit and on the wings leading edge.
can predict the structure behaviour according to any
weight of the bird and any impact point
Ultrasound tests on where the wing meets the
fuselage; it allows to look inside the material and
find possible defects without having to take the plane

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Lightning tests
On average, every commercial plane is hit by lightning
about once a year, according to the Cardiff Universitys
lightning lab in the UK
Despite lightning strikes, traditional aluminium planes are
usually able to continue their journey safely the high
electrical conductivity of aluminium can dissipate the
electricity through the aircraft structure quickly without
causing any damage
But not all planes are made from metal anymore: to reduce
weight and therefore fuel consumption, next-generation
aircraft are built from new and much lighter materials such as
carbon fibre, which tend to have much lower electrical
conductivity than aluminium
This can lead to up to 25% improvement in fuel efficiency.
These materials, however, need to be protected against
lightning strike. It is usually done by adding a thin layer of
metal mesh or foil. The problem, though, is that it adds weight.
Lightning strikes Delta's Boeing 737 plane at Atlanta airport/ Un rayo cae sobre un avin
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Lightning tests
At Boeing, there are two different systems to test for lightning. One is
a two megavolt high voltage generator that produces a lightning
strike indoors and can mimic where the lightning will attach on an
airplane in flight.
The second system is a 50-60 kilovolts high current system that can
output 200,000 amps to simulate a powerful strike on the airplanes

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Stress testing difficulties
Needs an operational profile
An operational profile is a set of data which accurately reflects
the actual inputs which will be presented to the system.
Therefore, as well as input values, the frequency of an input
occurring must also be known
May need software simulators to be created
Simulators of user terminals or other computers may be used
to generate large numbers of inputs, transactions, etc.
Can cause hardware failures
While stress testing software is unlikely to damage the
system, some stress testing can damage hardware e.g. through
over-heating or wear and tear on mechanical parts

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Acceptance testing
The process of demonstrating to the customer that the
system is acceptable

Generally carried out by customer and system

developer together

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Performance testing
Concerned with checking that the system meets its
performance requirements
Response time to input
Time to complete specified operations
Generally requires some logging software to be
associated with the system to measure its
May be carried out in conjunction with stress
testing using simulators developed for stress

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Reliability testing
The system is presented with a large number of
typical inputs and its response to these inputs is
The reliability of the system is based on the number of
incorrect outputs which are generated in response to
correct inputs
The profile of the inputs (the operational profile) must
match the real input probabilities if the reliability
estimate is to be valid

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Security testing
Security testing is concerned with checking that the
system and its data are protected from accidental or
malicious damage
Unlike other types of testing, this cannot really be
tested by planning system tests. The system must be
secure against unanticipated as well as anticipated

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Ground Tests
Systems ground tests typically include:
Functional tests
Safety of Flight (SoF)
Ground procedures
Specific systems tests
Static and dynamic
All Test and Evaluation tasks that do not require to be
performed in flight (cost savings)

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Ground Tests
Arduino + Wii Nunchuck = control RC Aircraft, first
ground test 15/03/12
Airbus A380 Landing Gear Drop Test
747 Landing gears retraction tests

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Flight Test
Adequate replication on the ground of flight
conditions is often impractical
Particular flight conditions may be insufficiently well
defined to be simulated
Discrepancies between actual flight behaviour and
predicted behaviour .
Flight test data is essential to improve accuracy of the

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Nature of Flight tests
Inherently Hazardous
New configurations; unproven systems; at the edge and
beyond of flight envelope
Explore the most critical configuration and failure cases of
Requires instrumentations, infrastructure, special
maintenance of test vehicle, test area, specific weather

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General Approach to Flight Tests
Starting from less hazardous and gradually towards
more hazardous case

Comparison between test results and prediction

Explore aircraft envelope to ensure that aircraft meets

requirements at the most critical conditions.

Testing in a known and controlled condition (suitable

weather, low air traffic density, flight test
instrumentation, safety equipment and dedicated test
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Types of Flight Test
Experimental Flight Test
Research and Development purposes
Development and Certification Flight Test
Demonstration for the purpose of showing compliance
with design objective and/or airworthiness requirement
Must be performed using representative aircraft, proven
instrumentation and test maneuver as per requirements
Operational Flight Test
Performed by the users to confirm and define the extent
of the aircraft/systems operational suitability
Production Flight Test and Flight Test After
Testing of series aircraft to ensure correct
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Flight Test Center - Main Tasks
Provide flight testing services to the corporate
Activities starting from flight test program preparation, to flight test
operation execution and finishing at flight test data analysis and
Flight Test Program Preparation
Safety assessment
Human factor assessment
Flight Simulations
Flight Test Instrumentation
Data link system design & establishment
Flight Test Engineering methods development
Test Aircraft readiness, maintenance
Program planning
Test crew training

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Flight Test Center - Main Tasks

Flight Test Operation/Execution

Flight Test Operations
Mission Operation
Test Control Systems
Test Infrastructures and Safety
Data Analysis, Reporting and post flight activity
Data Reduction
Data Analysis
Data Reporting & Documentation
Flight Test Instrumentation Calibration

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Flight Tests
New Boeing 747-8 undergoes extreme testing
Plane crash tests
Boeing 727 Intentionally Crashed In The Mexican
Desert For Airline Test
MD-87 tail strike (VMU) test
RC plane wing flutter crash test. (with onboard) HD
AeroRio Advanced - Full Payload Test Flight - Wing

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