Certification and testing

Certification and testing

Since our first airfield opened in Cambridge in 1929, Marshall’s engineers and pilots have flown, maintained, repaired, modified and trained aircrews on hundreds of types and variants of aircraft models - from light aircraft to commercial airliners.

Over millions of work hours and flight hours we have created, built, tested and self-certified experimental designs and novel modifications from the legendary Concorde nose to the Airbus A400M’s engines.

Meanwhile, we have witnessed and contributed to the evolution in global regulations and airworthiness standards over generations, ensuring that we have always stayed at the forefront of the latest developments, from safety and communications protocols to uncrewed aerial systems (UAS).

Building on this heritage and applying our vast expert technical and regulatory knowledge, we offer full-fledged testing (both flight and static) and independent certification of all the work we perform - from routine maintenance to major structural modifications and system integrations.

Additionally, we offer third-party certification advisory programmes that can take our customers’ products, modifications or systems from design through to real-world operation and beyond.

Airworthiness certification

Alongside the continued airworthiness management we perform as part of our core maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) offering, we are able to independently self-certify our own work on major modifications and integration of new systems into aircraft.

Furthermore, we offer specialist third-party airworthiness assessment and certification support at every stage of the product lifecycle - from initial design through to in-service modifications and integration of new systems.

Drawing equally on our decades of aviation engineering expertise and wealth of certification knowhow, we can provide practical and informed recommendations that take relevant civil or military aviation regulations into account, charting a path to airworthiness certification for even the most complex and advanced aircraft or air system.

We can scale our service from initial airworthiness advice and technical evaluations (for components and aircraft alike) to step-by-step assistance with formal certification processes and post-certification compliance audits.

Flight testing

Marshall is approved to conduct all categories of military and civil flight test, from experimental and developmental testing through to production and operational trials. Our expertise includes initial flights of new types, flight envelope expansion, STCs and certification of major and minor modifications.

Our CAA/EASA/MAA Cat 1 test pilots and lead flight test engineers have extensive experience of military and civil fixed wing aircraft operations and testing. The team’s range of front line experience includes fast jet, tactical and strategic air transport, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and maritime operations. Marshall is a member of numerous accredited professional bodies including the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers.

Flight test planning and safety management

Marshall can prepare flight test plans (top-level programme overview, certification or specification compliance, logistics and operations), detailed test procedures, special operating instructions, flight test readiness reviews, flight trials clearance, and trial management.

Likewise, we are able to handle all flight test safety documentation addressing hazard identification, risk assessment, and risk reduction control options. We can also help implement risk controls and trial supervision, including management of flight test risk. Our flight test team has extensive human factors competencies and experience, including all aspects of human machine interface (HMI) and crew resource management (CRM) training.

We can also provide independent test and evaluation services covering all aspects of flight test, from independent assurance to troubleshooting and checks against regulatory and specification compliance.

Flight test implementation

We can assist with test article configuration and prepare flight test cards and all required flight documents.

Our team is able to conduct both flight tests and flight trials - either as lead or alternatively as part of a combined test team.

Marshall holds approvals from the UK Military Aviation Authority (MAA) for the following types of flight tests:

  • Experimental/developmental (a test that expands the flight envelope, extends flight limitations or develops the handling techniques of an aircraft)
  • Flight safety critical (a test conducted on a production standard aircraft that provides evidence for an airworthiness clearance of flight safety-critical systems)
  • Non-flight safety critical (a test of new systems or software whose operation is not considered flight safety-critical)
  • Production (a test to assure the production standard of a newly built aircraft and/or associated systems that have been newly installed)
  • Operational (a test to develop or ensure the validity of tactics, techniques and procedures for an aircraft and associated doctrine)
  • Trial workup (a flight to maintain, improve or check aircrew operating skills, techniques or experience in preparation as part of a specific flight trial)
  • Trial support (a flight in direct support of a flight trial)
  • Demonstration (a flight to demonstrate the characteristics of an aircraft and/or its systems)
  • Maintenance test (a flight to confirm the performance and serviceability of an aircraft)

We provide any necessary post-flight debriefs and reports detailing test evidence, qualitative and quantitative assessments, recommendations, conclusions and suggestions for further work.

Ground testing

In addition to airworthiness certification and flight testing, Marshall performs a broad array of ground-based testing, both as an independent service for third parties and for structures or components we are designing or manufacturing under contract.

Marshall maintains the largest Ground Running Enclosure (GRE) and compass swing bay in Europe, measuring 90m wide and 20m high.

The multi-million-pound facility enables us to offer an unmatched engine test service, allowing conditioning of the airflow to the propellers and jet engine intakes and accommodating aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747-400 – while significantly reducing noise during testing.

  • Testing capabilities
    • Model-based systems engineering (MBSE)
    • Ground/static testing (rig testing)
    • Engine testing
    • Radiographic testing for maintenance, repair and overhaul
    • CMM and manual inspection
    • Structural analysis, including fatigue and damage tolerance
    • Flammability exposure testing
    • Factory acceptance testing

Skills and training

We are proud of our award-winning apprenticeship scheme that has enabled more than 21,000 people to launch their careers over the years, and are committed to leading the industry in addressing the severe global skills shortage.

Building on the strength of our reputation in this area, Marshall delivers apprenticeships for businesses across the aviation and engineering sectors as well as in-house for our own operations. In addition to apprenticeships, we provide a comprehensive range of technical, regulatory and health and safety training programmes to the civil and military aviation industry.

To learn more about our skills and training offering, click here.