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Optimizing Air Data Computers for Rotorcraft Applications

April 13, 2016 | BY: Stephen Willis

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Air data computers are used by aircraft to acquire and process data from pitot and static pressure sensors, data buses and analog inputs to obtain key air data parameters such as altitude, airspeed, height deviation and temperature to ensure safe and accurate flight, on both rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

Rotorcraft experience some unique phenomena because of how they operate and these can affect the accuracy of pressure measurements, particularly in take-off, landing and in the hover. Additionally, rotorcraft fleets often consist of different aircraft and this can create additional logistics overheads as air data units must be separately calibrated for each aircraft type.

Optimized air data computers can mitigate these effects without requiring additional mass and space through the use of digital filtering and accelerometer inputs. Additionally, the needs of many rotorcraft operators to manage spares for diverse fleets can be simplified by using a single unit on multiple different platforms that has a facility to store multiple configurations.

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Author’s Biography

Stephen Willis

Marketing Portfolio Manager

Stephen Willis works for Curtiss-Wright in the role of Marketing Portfolio Manager. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Philosophy for research in mathematical models and their market application for risk assessment and a PG Dip in marketing and management. His current research interests include data acquisition, recording and control systems and their applications in enabling a cost effective route to gathering large amounts of data. In particular, applications of interest include flight test, crash protected recording and structural/ usage monitoring programs. He is the author of several of academic papers and magazine articles.

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