Test facilities

JAXA has a range of testing facilities essential for aeronautics, such as wind tunnels, research aircraft, aeroegine test facilities, composites test facilities and supercomputer. Some test facilities are available to external users.

Flight test facilities

For flight test purposes, we manage and operate research aircraft, flight simulators, and flight test fields.

Flight demonstration is an integral process in the research and development of aerospace technologies. The validity and feasibility of newly developed technologies 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. The Chofu Aerospace Center Aerodrome Branch(Tokyo)and the Nagoya Flight Research Center(Aichi)are the bases for research aircraft, while the Taiki Aerospace Research Field(Hokkaido)provides a setting for large-scale flight experiments.

Research aircraft

JAXA has three research aircraft: A turboprop plane “MuPAL-α”, a jet plane “Hisho”, and a research helicopter “BK117C-2”, which enable us to perform flight tests at various altitudes and velocities, according to their respective flight characteristics.



MuPAL-α* was developed to demonstrate advanced aeronautical technologies such as guidance, control and human factors. Based on the Dornier 228-202, MuPAL-α is equipped with a Fly-By-Wire (FBW) computerized flight control system and a Direct Lift Control (DLC) system that give it an “in flight simulation” capabilities, allowing it to simulate the motions of different types of aircraft.

*MuPAL stands for “Multi Purpose Aviation Laboratory”

Jet flying test bed “Hisho*”

Jet flying test bed Hisho

“Hisho*” was introduced in 2012 as JAXA’s first “jet” flying test bed (FTB) to enable flight demonstrations in high-speed, high-altitude environments. The jet research aircraft “Hisho*” is based on the Cessna 680 and equipped with devices and antennas for precise measurement of flight conditions and attitude, as well as a camera aperture which provides a view of directly below the cabin.

*The Japanese word “Hisho” means flying or soaring.

Research Helicopter

Research Helicopter

JAXA’s research helicopter has been modified for use as research aircraft based on the BK117C-2 helicopter. This research helicopter is being used to support a wide range of R&D activities to enhance safety and efficiency of helicopter operations. To accommodate diverse flight and test needs, it is equipped with various experimental systems, such as data acquisition systems and programmable cockpit display systems.

Flight simulators

Flight simulators

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”.

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