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June 2006 edition

HUMS: the background to its development

Health and Usage Monitoring (HUM) and Flight Data Recording (FDR) systems were installed on civil aircraft to cut the number of accidents due to technical failures.

HUM/FDR systems are credited with generating significant safety benefits. They have detected and averted failures and have almost certainly prevented accidents. Certified HUMS have been in operational service since the early 1990s, but their origins can be traced back to the early 1970s.

This was when the UK Ministry of Defence began research into the use of vibration monitoring to improve the detection of helicopter drive-train faults. The adoption of HUMS has been rapid since the early 1990s and the technology has evolved significantly to date. HUMS complements existing diagnostic practices and automatically directs attention....

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