Fleet Operators that instrument their aircraft with loads monitoring equipment are able to determine the remaining structural life of their fleets, often achieving
- 10%-20% life extension beyond the original design life
- >50% reduction in scheduled maintenance
Curtiss-Wright has been providing Acra KAM-500 as loads monitoring equipment to aircraft sustainment programs for over 20 years, our units are highly reliable and often remain installed for decades, acquiring the high-fidelity, low-noise data needed by structural analysts.
What is OLM?
The aim of a loads monitoring program is to make better predications about the useful life of an aircraft, and particularly metal structural components as they are subjected to normal operational regimes. These programs are often labelled OLM (operational loads monitoring), ODR (operational data recording) or L/ESS (loads/environmental spectral survey).
A loads monitoring system in its simplest form is seeking to count the number and strength of loading cycles that a component is experiencing. This can be done using a combination of accelerometers measuring G levels and strain-gauges measuring stress, both arriving at a loads profile in different ways.
More generally the data acquired during an loads monitoring campaign can be used to correct the conservative loading assumptions in place during the design phase. The actual operational loading assumptions will allow ground based simulations (computer or fatigue rigs) to be re-run and arrive at more realistic life estimates.
Challenges and Solutions?
Aircraft sustainment managers encounter many implementation challenges during the development of a loads monitoring program:
- Establishing Requirements
- Hardware Selection
- Certification and Platform Integration
- Data Management System Creation
- Data Analysis System Creation
- Maintenance Action Creation
New Program Support
Curtiss-Wright has worked with NLR for many years on multiple OLM programs, and have partnered to offer a complete 6 stage solution to fleet managers who seek to establish their own aircraft sustainment programs.
Established Program Support
Many established Aircraft Sustainment and Monitoring programs (50%-60%) struggle to realize their Return-On-Investment (ROI), despite a considerable expenditure of resources. Curtiss-Wright has partnered with Celeris Aerospace Canada to provide “SHAPE” (Structural Health Analysis and Program Evaluation). A SHAPE assessment includes a critical evaluation of your program together with practical recommendations/actions that will allow you to maximize the ROI of your existing program and/or get a wayward and failing program back on track. SHAPE is a fixed-price, independent assessment carried out by individuals with 20+ years expertise.