Crane Aerospace & Electronics, whose recent successes include selection to provide a new-generation doors and slides control system for the Airbus A330/340 and the on-board tire and brake monitoring system for the Boeing 777, is developing a flight data simulation and maintenance trend-monitoring program to provide proactive product support to airlines.
The flight data analysis and trend-monitoring software is currently being tested in a pilot project ahead of a rollout anticipated by the end of the year. The company aims to use it for proactive accident prevention, no-fault-found reduction and multiple return serial number (“rogue unit”) resolution, particularly on new aircraft programs which heavily penalize suppliers whose products do not perform safely and reliably.
The analysis software contains specific editors to define the aircraft’s flight data recorder configuration, known as the data frame layout, and develop the equations used to convert the data into engineering units. This allows for rapid configuration of a parameter database for any aircraft. The software also contains all the necessary flight data acquisition unit information, parameter locations and conversions needed to extract data from the bitstream in either raw data or engineering unit form.
Software event detection tools can then be used to search for specific events such as erratic fuel flow indications, electrical power anomalies, hard landings, nuisance thrust reverser indications, cabin door warnings and potential tailstrikes
The ability to search for specific events is very helpful in no-fault-found investigation, which can be assisted by identifying the specific aircraft conditions prevailing at the time the effect was observed on the flight deck. The software plots the parameters related to the no-fault-found event and displays them in a two-dimensional graph.
The DSCS for the A330/340 uses Crane’s newest high-accuracy, all-metal proximity sensors to monitor the position of the aircraft’s passenger and cargo doors and ensure they are safely closed, locked and latched. First deliveries are due in 2007. The system can also be used to upgrade existing door controls.
The system on the 777, which monitors the tire pressure and brake temperature of each wheel and displays the readings on the flight deck, will replace the current system on all follow-on 777s starting in 2007. It uses Crane’s new SmartSystem wireless technology to replace the existing tire inflation valve stem with a wireless stem that senses and communicates tire pressure, temperature and other stored information to a control unit on the aircraft or a hand-held reader. The result is a means for maintaining proper aircraft tire pressure that is easy, accurate, automatically documented and quick–a reading takes about one second.