Diagnostic, Prognostic, and Health Monitoring Solutions for Aircraft Flight Control System

Date released: June 26, 2018

Sector: Space, Aerospace & Defence

Under a multi-year contract from the Government of Quebec through the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ), GlobVision will develop state-of-the-art, novel Diagnostic, Prognostic, and Health Monitoring (DPHM) solutions for electrohydraulic actuators (EHA), electromechanical actuators (EMA), and sensors of aircraft Flight Control System (FCS) servo-actuation loops including primary flight control (Rudder, Aileron, Elevator), multi-function spoilers (MFS) and horizontal stabilizer trim (HST) system.

The project builds on the extreme success of a predecessor CRIAQ project, led by Thales Avionics Canada, in which GlobVision was the industry partner developing embedded real-time Diagnostic and Health Monitoring (DHM) for MFS.

Despite advances in aircraft component manufacturing, degradations due to wear and tear are inevitable as well as occurrence of faults and failures. When degradations occur, aircraft owners and operators need to be able to identify (i.e. detect and isolate/localize) them as early as possible and replace the faulty unit(s) as quickly as possible.

GlobVision has demonstrated a working DPHM solution for the MFS (under the previous contract) and will expand the applicability of its proprietary DPHM solution to the full FCS using advanced and robust model-based, real-time DHM methods running on the flight computer and innovative Prognostic methods running on ground.

It is highly desirable for aircraft operators to evolve from time/schedule-based maintenance to Condition-based Maintenance (CBM) and Predictive Maintenance (PM). Our prognostic methods will predict degradation progression time profile and thus estimate time-to-failure (TTF) or remaining-useful-life (RUL) of components. Accurate/Reliable TTF or RUL are critical to optimize maintenance scheduling and reduce time dedicated to maintenance.

To demonstrate the technology, GlobVision will develop a processor-in-the-loop (PIL) high-fidelity aircraft simulation and control environment to leverage the TRL of all DPHM algorithms to TRL 6. The PIL simulation environment will have (1) an embedded system to run the DHM code in real-time, whose specifications are very similar to the flight computers used by Thales; and (2) high-fidelity simulation of aircraft flight dynamics, servo-actuation loops, and flight disturbances (aero and structural) with the ability to inject component degradations as well as parametric and modelling uncertainties for Monte-Carlo simulations.

The project brings together expertise from two industrial partners, GlobVision as project leader and Thales, as well as two universities, Concordia University and École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS).

The advent of this advanced FCS DHM capability on-board commercial aircraft and Prognostic for ground operations promises huge benefits including:

(a) Significant reduction of aircraft life-cycle cost and environmental footprint, at both design and maintenance levels, which is highly desired by the aerospace industry;

(b) Increased operational efficiency due to more timely and optimized replacement of LRUs and highly optimized maintenance schedules incorporating CBM and RUL predictions; and

(c) Increased flight safety for the travelling public as a result of soon-to-fail subsystems being replaced before they actually fail.

Armineh Garabedian, President of GlobVision Inc. commented “The outstanding success that GlobVision and Thales achieved on the MFS DPHM program has led directly to this program award. We are thrilled to be working with Thales again, and with Concordia and ÉTS, our university partners, on this important initiative. GlobVision’s unique, multi-disciplinary software, engineering, and scientific capabilities are being leveraged for another hugely important application that promises reduced operational costs for aircraft operators and, most importantly, increased flight safety and eco-efficiency.”