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GippsAERO lowers risk and reduces time to certification of the GA10 with Curtiss-Wright

In less than a year the ambitious GippsAERO flight test team will have completed the GA10 flight test program with over 150 flights across two test articles. This is the first time the team is using specialist Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI) equipment, which was supplied by Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics (CWC-AE).

To gain rapid certification using reliable data, GippsAERO instrumented the GA10, a new 10 seat utility turboprop, with a networked Acra KAM-500 Data Acquisition System (DAS) capturing audio, video, strain, temperature and other aircraft parameters. The outcome was an accelerated flight test program which delivered measurable cost savings in terms of a reduction in size of the analysis team and an accelerated regulatory certification process due to increased data reliability and quality.

"The Acra KAM-500 system gave us the ability to get a fully time synchronized data stream immediately after the flight, which can be uploaded to a server and synched to our parent company in no time." explains Gerhard Jordaan, Engineering and Projects Manager at GippsAERO.

Made up of entirely COTS products, this is GippsAERO's first time testing an aircraft using hardware made specifically for the purpose of gaining aircraft certification and it is also their first digital system. The GA8 Airvan, was tested using a system they developed in house by sourcing components from manufactures of multi-purpose data acquisition systems. Such DAS required a full time employee to set-up and maintain the system and its lack of ruggedness often produced incomplete data. The move to a purpose built Acra KAM-500 DAS meant that the data acquired would be accepted by the aircraft certification regulators more easily than in previous projects due to the systems high system throughput, accuracy and proven capability on numerous other FTI programs. This inherent system reliability enabled GippsAERO to have a dual purpose system, using it as both flight test instrumentation and as a major integration diagnostic tool for the GA10 systems integration.

At the heart of the GA10 flight test instrumentation is a 13 user slot Acra KAM-500 data acquisition unit (DAU). Connected via Ethernet is a standalone network recorder with a 128GB SATA SSD drive that records all traffic on the network. The DAU is fitted with a variety of modules used to capture audio, video, strain, temperature and other aircraft parameters. In total, there were five categories of parameters that include 29 types of measurements equaling over 100 parameters. The system is set-up, configured and maintained by KAM-500 software and the data is easily analyzed in GS Works 7 (companion analysis software to the KAM-500 data acquisition hardware).

After less than a week's training, GippsAERO engineers were able to install the data acquisition system and using the intuitive, easy to use set-up and management software it was configured and running in a matter of weeks. In previous programs, flights were lost because the legacy data capture system would fail without notice during a flight, which had to be repeated at great cost and frustration. With the rapid, dependable response from their local Acra representative, GippsAERO never had to wait more than a day to get assistance with any technical support issues. The ability to get a full data stream immediately after the flight, which could be uploaded to a server and synched to their parent company demonstrated how a purpose built flight test system can streamline a program.

The reduction in system set up, maintenance and data consolidation also meant GippsAERO was able to realize the added benefit of freeing up employees who previously spent a majority of time manually keeping their prior system working. They were able to reduce the number of staff required from four full time engineers to just one.

Press release issued by Curtiss-Wright Avionics & Electronics Dorset on November 20, 2012


 Contact details from our directory:
Curtiss-Wright Avionics & Electronics Dorset Angular Sensors, Variable Transformers, Solenoid Valves, Potentiometers, Ice Detectors, Data Acquisition Systems, Air Data Computers, Flight Recorders, Linear Sensors, Non-Contact Sensors, Tilt Sensors
GippsAero Pty Ltd. Airframer


 Related aircraft programs:
Gippsland GA10


 Related directory sectors:
Sensors, Transducers & Detectors
Flight and Data Management

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