飞机起落架故障可能会对运行中的飞机部件造成十分严重的冲击,其严重程度仅次于发动机故障。然而,发动机的健康监测技术已经发展了数十年,但起落架的健康监测技术还相对年轻。一家监测技术公司已开始抓住机遇改善这些昂贵系统的维护状况。

After engines, landing gear probably get the hardest pounding of any components in aircraft operations. Yet while engine health monitoring has been done for decades, monitoring landing gear health is relatively young. One monitoring company has set out to exploit the opportunity for improving maintenance of these expensive systems.

Flightwatching现在是Revima集团的一个部门,它已经在几个系统上进行了预测性维护,包括发动机、APU、液压系统、排气和燃油系统、大气传感器和起落架。在过去的四年里,它一直在A380,以及诸如A300等老旧飞机起落架上进行健康监测工作。

Flightwatching, now a unit within the Revima Group, has been doing predictive maintenance on several aircraft systems, including engines, APUs, hydraulics, bleed and fuel systems, air probes and landing gear. For the past four years it has worked with landing gear on models such as the Airbus A380 and older ones such as the A300.

“我们在作动器、接近传感器和指示器等起落架部件上获得了许多成功案例,”Flightwatching首席执行官Jean-PhilippeBeaujard解释道。他的团队为航空公司提供先进的故障排除协助,并在每次航班之前对关键部件进行飞行前的远程检查,这些部件的故障可能导致航班延误或飞机返航。

“We have been successful on landing gear components such as actuators, proximity sensors and indicators,” explains Flightwatching chief Jean-Philippe Beaujard. His unit provides advanced troubleshooting assistance to airlines and also a remote pre-flight inspection prior to each flight on key items that could lead to a delay or inflight turn-back.

Flightwatching的数字表单应用程序支持飞行前检查,该应用程序安装在移动设备上。在远程监控发出警报后,公司向一线的维护人员发送新的检查任务。例如,对飞机的远程监控可能检测到接近开关被错误装配,从而可能导致在收起起落架时发生问题。“我们专注于潜在的部件故障,这些故障可能导致起飞后产生驾驶舱警报或起落架收起问题,”Beaujard解释道。

Pre-flight inspections are supported by Flightwatching’s digital checklist application that works on mobile devices. The company sends a new inspection task to maintenance mechanics on the ramp after an alert from remote monitoring. For example, remote monitoring might detect incorrect rigging of a proximity switch that could lead to a problem when retracting landing gear. “We focus on potential component failures that could lead to a cockpit alert or retraction problem after takeoff,” Beaujard explains.

Flightwatching正在评估现有技术参数能否监测密封件磨损。

Flightwatching is now evaluating whether existing parameters could also enable it to monitor seal wear.

这位Flightwatching的执行官表示,他们的工具通过实时的警报避免了航班延误和返航。“我们的算法会扫描一些关键参数,经计算发送到维护控制系统对潜在的风险进行飞行前检查”,Beaujard表示。

The Flightwatching exec says his tools have avoided delays and inflight turn-backs with real-time alerts. “Our algorithms scan some key parameters and compute a potential risk that is sent to maintenance control for a pre-flight inspection,” says Beaujard.

Flightwatching也一直致力于研究硬着陆和普通着陆时飞机的载荷情况,旨在帮助航空公司对发生过载告警后需要检查的飞机部件进行快速定位。Beaujard表示,在发生硬着陆时飞机维护手册通常都是提供了非常复杂的操作指示,而Flightwatching可以帮助解码载荷情况并实时决定是否需要进行检查。从本质上讲,这些软件对那些复杂的操作指示进行解释和应用,其“对维护控制非常有用”。

Flightwatching has also been working on loads, both hard-landing and more general aircraft loads at landing. It seeks to help airlines quickly spot the parts of the aircraft that need to be inspected after a load alert. Beaujard says aircraft maintenance manuals give very complicated instructions when hard landings occur. Flightwatching can help decode a load case and decide in real time whether an inspection is needed. Essentially, it is interpreting and applying those complicated manual instructions, “very useful for maintenance control.”

Flightwatching还帮助航空公司解决了驾驶舱内起落架收放信号相关的棘手问题。信号的异常可指示对飞行数据记录器(即黑匣子)进行进一步分析。远程监控可通过确认上次故障排除已将问题解决,来避免从飞机上拆下黑匣子的做法。

The Revima division has also helped airlines troubleshoot a difficult issue involving cockpit landing-gear lever signals. A signal anomaly pointed to further analysis of the digital flight data recorder, or black box. Remote monitoring avoided removal of the data recorder by confirming that the last troubleshooting action had cleared the problem.

Beaujard表示,为航空公司提供预测工具的主要目的是希望航空公司有意愿参与起落架预测性维护的优势调查,并提供常规数据,使得Flightwatching的预测算法得到更多的学习机会。Revima已经为APU和其他组件提供了飞行小时支持服务,可以通过对潜在故障的预测来降低成本。他们希望在起落架维护领域进行同样的工作。

Beaujard says the main requirement for airline use of its predictive tools is simply that an airline be willing to investigate the benefits of predictive maintenance for landing gear and provide regular data so that Flightwatching’s predictive algorithms can learn more. Parent Revima already provides flight-hour support for APUs and other components that should reduce costs by predicting potential failures. He would like to see the same sort of agreements for landing gear.