Reno, Nevada‐based Blast Deflectors Inc. (BDI), a specialist in solutions for minimising the noise and jet blast impacts of aircraft engine run‐ups, has been contracted by the Canadian manufacturer of business jets, Bombardier, to design, manufacture and install a ground run‐ up enclosure (GRE) at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The GRE will protect local buildings and neighbourhoods from the noise and jet blast from the engine run-ups, some of which up will be at take-off power
Toronto Pearson will be home to the 770,000 square foot Global Manufacturing Centre (GMC) currently being built and in which Bombardier is investing US$400 million. On track for completion in 2023, it will provide a new home for the Global Manufacturing Centre currently located in nearby Downsview, Ontario.
The BDI GRE at the new site will be used for pre-delivery engine testing of all of Bombardier’s Global business jets, including its flagship Global 7500 business jet.
While construction work has started at the site, the GRE itself will not actually be installed at the Global Manufacturing Centre until 2023. Early engagement in the GMC site design ensured that this important facility has a place allocated that is convenient for the aircraft manufacturer.
“BDI is honoured to have been selected for this project,” says BDI president Don Bergin. “We have a long history with Bombardier, and we appreciate that our experience and expertise in the field of aircraft acoustics and aerodynamics was a driving factor in our selection.”
He describes the Bombardier GMC as a massive project, with BDI’s GRE being one of the final elements to be installed there.
Bergin notes that the aerodynamic requirements of this particular GRE are what really set it apart. “We had to design a noise attenuating GRE that allows high-powered engine run-ups to be undertaken, primarily in challenging wind conditions, without imposing aerodynamic restrictions that would negatively impact facility use,” he informs.
Key to GRE performance is controlling airflow through the facility (aircraft engines are sensitive to unstable or turbulent air), so high performance GREs are designed to provide an adequate supply of smooth air while also reducing the acoustic impacts of engine noise. To this end, a number of BDI patented technologies are to be used, including the company’s Vertivent deflector system and Stabile Flow acoustic walls.
All three walls of the GRE will be vented to permit run-ups in sidewinds or tailwinds, while the vents, not dissimilar to louvres, will themselves be carefully angled to minimise noise emittance while maintaining airflow; they are also ‘acoustically treated’ – ie, lined with noise-absorbing materials – to further reduce noise passing through the vents.
“BDI’s engineers worked closely with Bombardier’s airframe and powerplant teams to ensure that all design criteria were carefully considered and addressed,” Bergin confirms.
“The result is a run‐up facility that will provide a stable aerodynamic environment suitable for consistent testing of Global aircraft in a wide variety of wind conditions with, of course, an emphasis on acoustics that will benefit the community surrounding the airport.”
This is not the first time that BDI has worked with Bombardier (or with Learjet, a Bombardier subsidiary). BDI also designed and built a heavy-duty jet blast deflector for the Bombardier regional jet facility at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, for example.
It has also been active elsewhere in Toronto. In April 2017 Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA), a smaller gateway located on an island in Lake Ontario and home to Porter Airlines, officially opened a new GRE that BDI had constructed. The GRE was part of a three-year, multimillion-dollar airfield improvement project that included pavement rehabilitation, the reconstruction of taxiways, signage and lighting for the runways as well as the construction of a three-sided GRE.
While the GRE at BBTCA was required primarily for turboprops rather than jets, and the facility was tucked away on a relatively remote part of the gateway, the airport operator, PortsToronto, wanted to “be a good neighbour”, says Bergin, bearing in mind that the Toronto urban environment is not too far away and turboprop noise can be very intrusive to nearby communities.
The BBTCA GRE’s 14m-high walls are fitted with Vertivents and the Stabile Flow technology allows the facility to be used in virtually all wind conditions.
The size of the GRE required for BBTCA and for the Bombardier facility at Toronto Pearson are not far apart; the first is primarily used by Bombardier Q400 turboprops and the latter for the similarly sized Global business jets.
South of the border, BDI has also been active in the US market. Its most recent work there saw it install a GRE at Melbourne Orlando International Airport in Florida. The big challenge here was that the site of the facility is in the centre of the airfield and close to runways, so the design of the facility had to take into account significant restrictions due to its proximity to the runways on the airfield.
That GRE – not the first BDI installation at Melbourne Orlando – is now in operation, primarily for business jet engine run-ups following maintenance or final assembly. It utilises BDI’s cloud-based run-up management system (RMS) that provides facility scheduling and reporting data for users, owners and other stakeholders.
Acceptance testing was extensively conducted with an Embraer Praetor aircraft in February 2021.
BDI also designed and supplied the only other GRE in Florida, at Tampa International Airport.
BDI felt the impact of the pandemic on the aviation industry, Bergin reveals. There was a slowdown in demand as some projects in the planning stage were postponed for better days, while others were scaled back or even cancelled.
However, he continues: “There has been a real uptick over the last six months or so, and we are seeing plans resurrected and progress made on new tenders. We are seeing more confidence in the market.” BDI is active right around the world.
Moreover: “We made no redundancies [during the pandemic]: we have kept our team intact and are now well positioned for the future.”