Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

As the US celebrates Thanksgiving with its nod to the past, passengers in the future look set to be indebted to a recent initiative from Canada.

Last week, the Canadian government opened the Centre for Air Travel Research – five laboratories that simulate and study a passenger’s complete air travel experience – from check-in to terminal, to security, boarding, flying, and deplaning.

Managed by the National Research Council of Canada, the $12 million centre provides the aerospace industry with a flexible, collaborative space to develop, integrate, and evaluate aerospace technologies, systems and materials.

As Marc Garneau, minister of transport, noted: “Canadians want safe, efficient, affordable and comfortable air travel services. The National Research Council of Canada’s Centre for Air Travel Research – a research and development facility – will benefit travellers, airlines and aircraft manufacturers from around the world.”

Backing onto the Ottawa International Airport, facilities include a check-in area; airport terminal washrooms; an airport terminal lab which will investigate new boarding techniques or the extension of personal entertainment services outside the aircraft to expand the passenger travel experience beyond the aircraft cabin. This area also serves as a space where passengers will ‘wait’ for their flight during a test. There is also a fuselage lab consisting of a Boeing B737-500 fuselage fitted with a powered cabin complete with seats, passenger service units, lighting and overhead bins. The laboratory also has functioning galleys, lavatories and environment control systems. The laboratory is suitable for human subject studies, including passenger evacuation trials.  In addition to serving as a large scale mock-up, the laboratory may also be fitted with a motion platform in the future. A control room, human vibration lab as well as the Flexible Cabin Laboratory, complete with an A320 aircraft cabin, complete the site.

Keeping air travel safe and enjoyable for all is certainly an excellent reason to give thanks.

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