Wireless Sensors Make Aircraft Maintenance More Efficient

The FLITE-WISE project has developed new wireless sensors to facilitate the constant monitoring of European aircrafts. The new system, which is expected to bring both cost and weight down, will be commercialised within the next three years.

Some 842 million passengers took a flight in the EU-28 in 2013. With such mind-bending figures, it hardly comes as a surprise that airplane safety is continuously monitored, with rules that keep being reviewed and improved based on the latest technologies and scientific knowledge. In fact, it is safe to say that flying is one, if not the, safest existing forms of transport.

Of course, this also means that monitoring the condition of an aircraft is costly and time-consuming. Maintenance typically accounts for 10 to 20 % of aircraft-related operating costs, and the use of wired sensors to monitor engines, airframes, structures, gearboxes and other key components of an aircraft is one of these things that contribute to bumping up the bill.

The EU-backed FLITE-WISE (FLite Instrumentation TEst WIreless SEnsor) project was set up with a view to moving away from the unnecessary burden presented by wires, and towards a ‘Wireless sensor network’ (WSN) relying on smart sensors using a radio interface to communicate with each other. The project, which is part of the Joint Technology Initiatives under Clean Sky (a public-private partnership between the Commission and the Aeronautical industry to reduce the environmental impact of aviation), was completed in December.

Jean-Dominique Decotignie coordinated the project on behalf of CSEM. In this exclusive interview for the research*eu magazine, he explains the technical advances made under FLITE-WISE and expands on its added value for the sector. … (read more)

Source: Phys.org