Project Name: NIFTI – a wireless sensor network for Non-Intrusive Flight Test Instrumentation (NIFTI)

The Brief:

Current practice in aerospace is to run wired based systems on the aircraft to monitor the dynamics of the aircraft during flight trials. There are a number of problems with this approach.

  • The wired monitoring system requires many km of wires weighing hundreds of kilograms.
  • Often the wiring looms require modification of the airframe in order to access the desired locations.
  • Installation and removal is extremely labour intensive, requiring many hundreds of man-hours

The above factors necessitates that dedicated aircraft are set aside to be wired as test trial aircraft, which further compounds the cost of having an aircraft fitted with sensors. As such, any such aircraft are usually “protected” and not used as part of the regular fleet. Consequently, they experience a different rate of degradation to the airframe over time. As the operational fleet ages, the test aircraft becomes an orphan and not representative of the condition of the aircraft in the operational fleet.

The Solution

Non-Intrusive-Flight-Test-Instrumentation (NIFTI), using the system NIFTI

Highlights of Our System (Scheduled for Oct 2015)

  • Demonstrated on PC-9 Flight Trial
  • 10 sensors each sampling tri-axial acceleration at >320Hz each
  • EMI/EMC certified to MIL-STD-461F
  • Sensors rate to measure ±30G accurately
  • Operates from -30°C to +85°C
  • Continuous operation for approx 4 hours
  • All data stored on a single CF card at the Gateway in Ch10 format
  • Each sensor requiring <2min to install including surface preparation
  • Gateway requiring <30min to install
  • Installation and removal of sensors do not damage aircraft painted surfaces
  • Sensors certified for up to 700KCAS when mounted on external surfaces
  • Remote Hibernate or Kill command from the cockpit

More information on the NIFTI project can be found at Defence Innovations Pty Ltd