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Centennial receives NSERC research funds to help develop electric aircraft landing gear

picture of Centennial College Aviation Technician program students working on an airplane in a hangar at Ashtonbee Campus

Centennial College has received $2.3 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to investigate the next generation of landing gear for energy-efficient aircraft.

With the aerospace industry investing in weight reduction to make aircraft more fuel efficient, replacing heavy hydraulic systems with electric-actuated landing gear becomes an attractive goal for manufacturers.

Ontario is a leader in global aerospace landing gear design and manufacturing, and a hub for aviation ingenuity. Centennial College is bolstering its capacity to innovate with Safran Landing Systems, one of the key industry partners in this applied research initiative.

"Safran Landing Systems is continually developing new technologies such as electrical actuation and additive manufacturing to ensure that we can meet the needs of our customers in the future," says Joseph Lan, Research and Technology Program Manager, Safran Landing Systems.

"NSERC funding is a key component of our near-term research activities in Canada and enables Safran to engage in collaborative innovation between not only Centennial but other Canadian industrial partners. We look forward to working together closely to develop this next-generation landing gear technology that will have a direct benefit to Centennial's faculty and students, and the Canadian aerospace industry."

The $2.3 million research grant is part of a $37.4 million investment in 37 applied-research projects by the federal government agency, which recognizes the valuable role Canada's colleges play in research and innovation. Strong ties with their communities place colleges in a unique position to collaborate with local companies to develop innovations that strengthen economic growth and create new, sustainable jobs. 

"The NSERC funding is not only a collaboration between institutions and industry, but it supports a vital experiential learning opportunity for our students as they help develop more efficient and environmentally friendly landing gear technology," says Ann Buller, President of Centennial College. "This research project is a prime example of the kind of collaborative work we plan to incubate at the DAIR research centre, which eventually will adjoin our aerospace campus in Downsview Park."

DAIR is a consortium of industry leaders and academic partners intent on building a global aerospace hub in Toronto. The landing-gear research program is worth nearly $8 million in total, and represents the single largest applied research initiative in Centennial College's 50-year history. Centennial operates the largest transportation technology training centre in Canada at its Ashtonbee Campus, and is poised to open its aerospace campus at Downsview Park in January 2019.

Watch Centennial's new Aerospace Campus Construction Live Stream.