To perform a complete aircraft certification plan, civil aviation test centres use specific flight test installations and ground test means. In this scope tests specialists operate ground test means which have a generic name Laboratory Tests Means (LTM) to validate aircraft functions. Today these functions are becoming more and more complex, moreover certification deadlines and tests campaign costs are becoming increasingly challenging and demand LTM use optimization.
In this context current LTM development approach is no longer suitable to cover these new constraints. Currently LTMs start to be designed when testing strategy for a new aircraft is defined and design is quite specific. Drawbacks of such an approach are: tunnel effect for LTM development, no simple sharing of testing resources, LTM reuse is not easy, LTM upgrade requires re-engineering and many LTMs have to be maintained even if only partially used.
As a result future LTMs shall be scalable to the tests and tests shall not be dedicated to a specific LTM. A modular, distributed and open architecture based on standards will be an enabler to run tests in an efficient way. Agility in the testing process and LTM configuration will allow adjusting test means to the test procedure. LTM will become easily adaptable to A/C changes and testing strategy priorities. Tests can be run in parallel using only the required resources. Interconnection of distributed LTMs will improve testing capabilities and functionalities.
Combined with remote and virtual testing capabilities the next generation of LTMs will become less a standalone device and more a network connected device. Shared by the design office, test centre and A/C suppliers, the LTM will also set more synergies between each stakeholder providing appropriate services, to complete the certification in an efficient and timely manner.