Capture Sensor Data on Demand

Data recording involves the capture of sensor data upon command. The sensor data may come from radar, sonar, FLIR, camera, audio, or any other similar devices. These devices capture events in the real world in different ways. Such data may be very valuable. For instance, test flights of new aircraft require extensive planning and test instrumentation. Data from such a flight can prove important to future development of the aircraft. UAV flights in a war zone are also very valuable as these obtain important tactical or even strategic information regarding the adversary. In the event of an accident, cockpit voice recorders help to ensure that data pertaining to the aircraft's performance and pilot's actions are available for analysis.

Data recorders capture this valuable data as it is streamed from the sensors. The sensors cannot be paused or halted for a data recorder to catch-up. So any such data recorder must have the throughput necessary to capture data continuously. A high-speed front-end IO system must be employed. Radar and sonar systems often use Serial FPDP to transport data streams. At up to 240MB/s, such a stream of continuous data can be difficult to capture in many recorders. Analog data can be captured with high-speed A/D converters in a data recorder.

Many modern system architectures use Ethernet for communication between subsystems. Gigabit or 10 gigabit Ethernet technologies are being employed today. In such architecture, the data capture may occur remotely and then transmitted as data files. A network file server or network attached storage device is required to capture data in such a system. These devices are viewed as a blend between traditional data recorders and modern architectures.

Curtiss-Wright provides a wide range of data recorders from streaming type to video capture to network attached storage. While I/O is the front end of data recorders, data storage is the backend of data recorders.

In lab grade data recorders, the data recorder and data storage are usually separate. The data storage will usually take the form of rack mount systems. Two basic types of storage functions are available – SBOD and RAID. SBOD (Switched Bunch of Disks) are always Fibre Channel (FC) based. The FC disks are each directly accessible by the data recorder. This flexibility allows the disks to be grouped into appropriate sizes as needed by the recording applications. RAIDs (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) provide the added security and backup functions. One set of disks can be used to backup another set of disks. Disks can also be setup with special redundant features that allow recovery if one of the disks fails. Most modern RAIDs will present an FC front end interface, but have the less expensive SATA drives inside.

Most rugged or deployed data storage will be integrated into the same enclosure with IO and processor. These system are designed to handle the wide temperature ranges and severe environments of deployed mobile vehicles. Also such data storage must be removable so that after deployment the captured data can be taken off the mobile vehicle and taken back to a base or ground station for analysis. Removable data storage may be PCMCIA cards, Compact Flash Drives, or special removable drives. Standard SATA drive connectors only support 50 insertions cycles which is far too few for deployed applications. The special drives provide anywhere from 500 insertion cycles like 3U VPX boards or the special carriers with 100,000 cycle connectors. Deployed recorders also may integrate encryption to protect the data-at-rest. Encryption may range from FIPS 140-2 validated to NSA Type 1 certified.

Airborne Recording

Curtiss-Wright has decades of experience designing and manufacturing a wide range of rugged recorders with products ranging from miniature avionics bus recorders to high speed, high capacity units with customizable interfaces. All our  recorders feature solid state media (integrated or removable), tightly integrated replay and analysis software and industry leading technology. Constant R&D ensures they meet the newest standards.

Curtiss-Wright recorders are qualified under MIL-STD and DO-160 environmental standards including additional crash protection in accordance with EUROCAE ED-112. A compact size and rugged nature mean the chassis can be mounted in cockpits, avionics bays or hard-mounted in any orientation on an airframe, removing the need for bulky equipment racks or anti-vibration mounts.

The range includes dedicated data recorders, video and data acquisition recorders with configurable interface support for sensors, avionics buses, time and position, and built-in test. Highly configurable systems can be built using COTS components or factory configured custom solutions. Long term manufacturing and support ensure ease of obsolescence management.

Aircraft data and aircraft monitoring applications that Curtiss-Wright supports includes

Our recording applications include Aircraft Engine Monitoring, which helps catch anomalies in engine performance that could signal damage or impending failure. Such information could be used in a flight data analysis program to set an inspection in motion and prevent a catastrophic event. Curtiss-Wright is also a flight data recorder manufacturer with significant heritage – we have been manufacturing flight data recorders, sometimes called a black box flight data recorder, since the 1950’s. Such aircraft flight data recorders can also be used in a flight data analysis program.

We also provide dedicated hardware and software for flight data monitoring and Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. These systems monitor and collect operational aircraft data during flight and post flight software analyzes the collected data. Data generated by way of FDM and FOQA programs help elevate operational efficiency and aircraft safety, and reduces maintenance costs by identifying and correcting problems in a timely manner.

Curtiss-Wright has a number of products, including the DAFR and Acra KAM-500 that can be used to meet the requirements of flight data monitoring and FOQA programs. While these programs are voluntary in the U.S., it is required for aircraft in excess of 20 tons and operated under European EASA jurisdiction.

Related Products

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