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BLADESENSE Project Aims to Revolutionize Health Monitoring for Rotorcraft

BLADESENSE Project Aims to Revolutionize Health Monitoring for Rotorcraft Image
September 11, 2017 | Source: Cranfield University, cranfield.ac.uk

The Cranfield University Center for Aeronautics, with partners Airbus Helicopters UK, BHR Group and Helitune, aims to revolutionize health monitoring for rotorcraft by investigating the aeroelastic behavior of rotor blades and developing state-of-the-art fiber optic sensors. The project has approximately 2.6 million dollars in funding and is scheduled to be completed around July 2018.

Current maintenance processes are extremely labor intensive, costly and involve regular checks of a helicopter’s rotor blades to help identify whether there are any potential problems.

The BLADESENSE project aims to mount fiber optic sensors along the length of each blade to determine their ‘health’ and identify early on whether there are any changes to the way in which they are behaving. Any changes would trigger the flight control systems to adapt and send an alert to the maintenance team suggesting that further checks are necessary.

We have made considerable progress since the project started in July 2015.

Although this is the first time Cranfield University has been directly involved in helicopter flight testing, as well as the first ever research project undertaken by Airbus Helicopters UK, Cranfield has extensive experience and ongoing funded research efforts related to the development of advanced fiber optics and flight systems to include: