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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Flight test facilities

For flight test purposes, we manage and operate research aircraft, flight simulators, and flight test fields. The validity and feasibility of newly developed technology are preliminary examined and reviewed fully with a flight simulator on the ground, then demonstrated in the air through flight tests using research aircraft for final confirmation for practical applications.

Research aircraft

The JAXA research aircraft have been developed to contribute to the breakthrough of experimental studies in the flight system field in Japan and in the development of advanced aviation technology. JAXA owns three research aircraft: A turboprop plane "MuPAL*1-α", a jet plane "Hisho*2", and a research helicopter "BK117C-2", which enable us to perform flight tests at various altitudes and velocities, according to their respective flight characteristics.

*1: MuPAL stands for "Multi Purpose Aviation Laboratory".
*2: Hisho means "flight" or "leap" in Japanese.

Flight simulator

A flight simulator is a system that provides a pilot with a sense and control cue equivalent to actual aircraft operation. It accommodates various experiments related to aircraft, securing high safety at lower cost than when using a real aircraft. JAXA owns a fixed-wing aircraft cockpit system "FSCAT-A" and a rotary wing aircraft cockpit system "FSCAT-R".

Flight test field

"MuPAL-α" and "BK117C-2" are based at the Chofu Aerospace Center Aerodrome Branch adjacent to Chofu Aerodrome in Tokyo, whereas "Hisho" is based at the Nagoya Flight Research Center adjacent to the Nagoya Airport in Aichi prefecture. They are used for various flight experiments. The Taiki Aerospace Research Field, located in the Taiki Multi-Purpose Aerospace Park operated by Taiki-cho, Hokkaido, is also used for large-scale flight experiments.

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