Client : US Air Force (Edwards Air Force Base)
Catastrophic tire failure during aircraft testing poses an unacceptable risk to personnel and material. Currently, to mitigate the risk, a “cool down” waiting period, usually about 45 minutes, is used between trial runs, reducing the efficiency of flight and ground testing. If the remote measurement of key landing parameters (tire temperature, brake stack temperature and tire pressure) were automated, it would allow both increased levels of safety when approaching the aircraft, and better optimized testing schedules. Technologies exist to provide such measurements, but both lack sufficient range to reduce risk, and has not been designed to function and survive in the extreme conditions necessary for testing of military aircraft.
Figure: (top and left) Aircraft hub mounted processor and (right) thermocouple
Templeman Automation’s Wireless Tire and Brake Monitoring System (WTBMS), currently a Phase II SBIR program, will acquire measurements of key landing parameters and meet military aircraft testing needs, and transmit them via ZigBee wireless protocol to researchers hundreds of feet away. WTBMS is designed to take real time measurements of key tire and brake parameters during and immediately post landing and relay them to ground operators. The development effort includes the integration of COTS and custom electronics elements and significant hardening for high temperature (brake) and high acceleration (tire) environments. TA has worked with Air Force sponsors at Edwards Air Force base to firmly establish the requirements and specifications to maximize the usefulness and usability of the test system. The WTBMS data will provide insight into the conditions experienced by Air Force equipment during landing, but more importantly will provide a quick and accurate way of making “go/no go” decisions on approaching an aircraft, greatly increasing ground crew safety during testing.