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On September 18, 1997, Honeywell Technology Center (HTC) successfully completed a three-week flight test of its rotor acoustic monitoring system (RAMS) at Patuxent River Flight Test Center. This flight test was the culmination of an ambitious 38-month proof-of-concept effort directed at demonstrating the feasibility of detecting crack propagation in helicopter rotor components. The program was funded as part of the U.S. Navy's Air Vehicle Diagnostic Systems (AVDS) program. Reductions in Navy maintenance budgets and available personnel have dictated the need to transition from time-based to 'condition-based' maintenance. Achieving this will require new enabling diagnostic technologies. The application of acoustic emission for the early detection of helicopter rotor head dynamic component faults has proven the feasibility of the technology. The flight-test results demonstrated that stress-wave acoustic emission technology can detect signals equivalent to small fatigue cracks in rotor head components and can do so across the rotating articulated rotor head joints and in the presence of other background acoustic noise generated during flight operation. During the RAMS flight test, 12 test flights were flown from which 25 Gbyte of digital acoustic data and about 15 hours of analog flight data recorder (FDR) data were collected from the eight on-rotor acoustic sensors. The focus of this paper is to describe the CH-46 flight-test configuration and present design details about a new innovative machinery diagnostic technology called acoustic fault injection. This technology involves the injection of acoustic sound into machinery to assess health and characterize operational status. The paper will also address the development of the Acoustic Fault Injection Tool (AFIT), which was successfully demonstrated during the CH-46 flight tests.
© (1999) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Jeffrey N. Schoess "Acoustic fault injection tool (AFIT)", Proc. SPIE 3670, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Sensory Phenomena and Measurement Instrumentation for Smart Structures and Materials, (31 May 1999);

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