Metadata for Flight Test Instrumentation Hardware

Flight Test Instrumentation

Comparison of the qualities of a mature metadata standard

In general, flight test instrumentation (FTI) users have to setup and configure equipment from multiple vendors. Typically configuration information is described using metadata. This metadata is usually described in a file using a format and structure that can be processed by vendor equipment and/or software. In general, each vendor has its own specific metadata format. This imposes additional burdens on FTI users, distracting them from their principal task of instrumenting aircraft.

At present, no one metadata standard dominates in the flight test instrumentation community. In the United States, TMATS is widely used in military FTI applications but elsewhere and in civil applications, users of FTI equipment generally use multiple proprietary formats. At present there are multiple ongoing efforts to develop a metadata standard that is acceptable to both FTI vendors and users of FTI equipment.

There are several criteria which Curtiss-Wright believes should be met in order to meet the needs of the flight test instrumentation community, which are outlined with a comparison of some popular standards in the following table:

Popular Standards for Flight Test Instrumentation

Curtiss-Wright has standardized on XidML as its FTI metadata standard. It has done this because it has been proven to meet both its needs and the needs of its customers. It has evolved through many iterations to a point where it has been shown to be flexible enough to describe any device from any vendor and can handle new and unanticipated communication and messaging protocols.