Addressing Safety and Maintenance Concerns without Increasing LRU Count
April 12, 2016 | BY: Steve LeaperDownload PDF
Integrating Data Acquisition within a Flight Data Recorder
Aircraft operators are constantly looking for ways to save space and weight of onboard avionics units. For many operators, a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) is an essential item that must be installed to meet regulatory requirements. For many others, although it is not mandated by regulators, having a FDR is desirable in order to improve safety in the long term by having a facility to assess why an incident may have occurred.
Aircraft operators are also increasingly looking to gather more information during flight to help reduce maintenance costs, optimize fuel burn, increase safety and for ongoing training purposes. Avionics units are available that can measure various onboard parameters and store this information in a single unit for download post flight. However, adding an extra box to perform such functions adds weight, takes up space and creates a more complicated installation challenge.
Advances in electronics mean processing power and storage density has been increasing but certain physical restraints can limit how compact avionics boxes can be – connector requirements for example. In the case of FDRs, the requirements to protect data in extreme conditions limits how small the crash tube (where the storage is located) can be. One strategy to overcome such limitations is to combine functions where possible. This could provide the benefits of additional data acquisition for post flight analysis applications without having to add another box onto an aircraft.
Aircraft operators know that removing weight lowers fuel burn and space is a valuable commodity on all aircraft. FDRs are required by regulations on many aircraft and are increasingly seen as valuable even when not mandatory. At the same time, the drive to lower maintenance costs and increase operational performance is making data acquisition and recording systems more attractive. Combining the functions of a FDR and a data acquisition unit can enable such applications without having the weight and space penalties of two separate units.
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