Jet-Care updates online service for engine analysis

 - February 2, 2007, 9:52 AM

Jet-Care International has added new features to its engine condition health online (Echo) program to allow operators to identify problems and store data more easily. The majority of customers for the company’s engine condition trend monitoring (ECTM) through gas-path analysis are now using the reporting software. The program is also available for the company’s Spectro oil analysis services.

The most visible improvement to Echo is the color-coding of engine condition reports, with red signifying an urgent problem, yellow indicating an early warning and green depicting normal data. Users can deactivate the color coding once the problem has been resolved.

The program, which now offers a broad selection of user languages, can present the data in various graph formats to focus on particular engines and sets of flights. In the case of Echo for oil analysis, operators can focus on particular metals that might be present in the oil or engine debris.

Jet-Care sends the Echo test reports to clients as files attached to e-mail messages, and clients can also download reports from the company’s Web site. The files are available in PDF format, and operators can add their own comments without altering the original data. The Echo files can also be sent to a customer service representative at the engine manufacturer.

Before the upgrade, the data charts plotted only 40 flights at a time. Now they allow users to scan through any number of flights. The graphs can plot data vertically or horizontally.

As with all of its ECTM and oil analysis services, Jet-Care will immediately call an operator if it finds a serious problem. The company provides reports via regular mail and/or fax for clients who don’t want to use the online service.

Data Reporting Options
For the ECTM process operators can provide gas-path data (covering temperatures, speeds and fuel flow) via downloads from an engine’s digital control system or manually via faxed report forms. One potential problem with electronic reporting is that operators can be tempted not to bother with a download until the data box is full. Since a data box can contain readings for as many as 50 flights, this approach could allow a problem to go undiscovered for too long. By contrast, the manual report forms are full after three flights.

Furthermore, Jet-Care technical director Peter Smith explained that there is a case to be made for operators gathering data both manually and electronically since there are gaps in both processes. For instance, digital engine controls bypass some aircraft instruments and may not identify failures of that nature. On the other hand, they do gather takeoff data that could not be collected manually.

Jet-Care currently provides ECTM for six business aircraft engine lines: Honeywell’s TFE731, HTF7000, ALF502 and ALF507; the General Electric CF34; and the Williams-Rolls FJ44. It also provides oil, filter and engine debris analysis for a wide range of engine types and conducts tests on fuel systems and hydraulic fluids.

ECTM can identify key issues such as rotor and stator failures, ingestion damage, long-term deterioration and bleed problems such as leaks and valve malfunctions. The purpose of oil analysis and other laboratory tests (which use advanced scanning electron microscopes) is largely to test for unacceptably high levels of wear metals. In both cases, Jet-Care’s overriding goal is to identify problems early enough that
the problem can be fixed before the operator encounters a dangerous, and expensive, engine failure.