Articles

A Unified Approach to Post-test Analysis

November 18, 2020

Published in Aerospace Testing International
Written by Ben Kupferschmidt

In recent years, Curtiss-Wright’s IADS software team has met with multiple engineering groups throughout the flight test community to better understand the tools they use in a typical post-test environment. This research has revealed that post-test analysis tends to be a fragmented and largely project-specific endeavor. It is common for these groups to spend an enormous amount of time developing their own post-test systems.

These systems tend to focus only on the requirements of the current project. When new projects start, the previously built tools are often discarded, and a new system is created from scratch. Despite their custom nature, these systems share enough commonality that a more generic, robust post-test system solution can be developed. Significantly, we identified three primary post-test requirements.

The first requirement is data querying, which provides the ability to search large amounts of flight data intuitively and efficiently. The second requirement, data analysis, provides the ability to perform complex analytical calculations on data across multiple flights. Common data analysis routines need to be supplied by the system, but engineers often need the ability to write their own discipline specific custom routines to generate the desired results. The third requirement, data visualization, provides the ability to generate a report containing the results of the engineer’s investigation into the data.

This report, the engineer’s final product, typically includes visual representation of the analysis results with text, notes, and annotations. To address these primary post-test requirements, the Curtiss-Wright IADS team has developed the IADS Post-Test Explorer, which provides a collaborative framework to help flight test engineers meet these needs.

Consider a hypothetical post-test scenario where an engineer is trying to find a collection of ‘Yaw Rap’ maneuvers in their flight data. The goal is to calculate the frequency and damping of various tail accelerometer responses on the aircraft during this maneuver when Mach exceeded 0.8 and Altitude is 10,000ft. Post-Test Explorer allows the engineer to search the flight data for these specific maneuvers across multiple flights and multiple aircraft.

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