Electrical Aircraft System Development

Electrical Aircraft System Development

Mike Green

More and more of our clients are looking towards disruptive technologies to drive the decarbonisation of vehicle platforms. We’re supportive of the drive for greener technologies and take great pride in contributing to simple and ambitious projects alike.


At WEC, we help our clients to design industry leading products by underpinning their projects with specialist expertise and quality assured processes and procedures.


The project

WEC were engaged as consultants on a project to develop and certificate (under special conditions) a flying test bed with propulsion partly supplied by an electrically driven motor.  The aim of the project was to convert an existing aircraft with the novel technologies required to demonstrate feasibility of the concept and to explore challenges and opportunities to its implementation.

The converted aircraft would be equipped with a host of novel systems equipment for the purpose of demonstrating the electrically driven propulsion technology thereby acting as an enabler for future low or zero emissions aircraft designs. Safety objectives for operation of the unique aircraft had to be met, whilst allowing operational and performance experience to be gained with the multiple new technologies employed.

Our team’s whole aircraft experience combined with intimate knowledge of aircraft systems, particularly of the platform selected for conversion, meant that we were the obvious choice for this project.

  • Our engineers reviewed the proposed system changes and provided recommendations for the design requirements of systems to be modified.
  • Systems safety principles of conventional aircraft programmes were adapted and applied in a way appropriate to an experimental aircraft programme.
  • Functional hazards introduced by modifying existing architectures were assessed in specialist reviews with the client; with particular focus on changes in systems redundancy.
  • The behaviour of the experimental systems and components also required evaluation in both normal and failure conditions.
Group around table discussing

The benefit

WEC engineers authored the specification for the modified fuel system components and used their previous experience of installing fuel systems in occupied areas to assist the customer in considering the detailed systems design.

Working consultatively, WEC supported the programme through systems Preliminary Design Review (PDR) up to its cancellation due to the complexities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to our extensive system design experience and platform knowledge, WEC were able to provide specialist, quality-assured cross-discipline support to our client without the usual ‘ramp-up’ time, thereby limiting programme delays.

Learn more about our System Design & Development service by calling 0161 482 8508 and speaking to one of our experts.

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