Cranfield Newsletter

The Safety & Suitabilities Technologies group (SST) of Cranfield Aerospace, near London, in the U.K. has recently procured a new Heim ruggedised modular DATaRec-4 recording system for certified environmental analysis (principally vibration and acceleration) on both land platforms and fast jet aircraft. This solid state instrumentation package is being used to replace Heim tape-based (DAT) A80 recorders, which have provided many years of reliable data acquisition.

Cranfield Aerospace Limited is the wholly owned commercial arm of Cranfield University and is responsible for rapid innovation and de-risking of product solutions for solving some of the most challenging issues facing the aerospace and defence industry today.

The SST group is primarily concerned with the effects of vibration and shock on equipment in 'dynamic' and often harsh environments. With increasing reliance upon sophisticated systems and effective structures, the integration of equipment into real world environments is something that predictive modelling as yet, cannot achieve. Combining accumulated expertise with studies of loads and climatic environments SST help to ensure that the latest technological developments are translated into safe and reliable systems for the most demanding use.

SST are the custodians of a number of instrumented stores complete with flight certification. With limited space for flight vibration recorders on most fast jets, these stores are able to monitor adjacent stores and weapons with minimal effect on aircraft handling.

The new Heim DATaRec-4 modules can be located separately, allowing them to fit into a compact, aircraft-independent, pod, which requires no external data or power connections. 48 channels of environmental data may be recorded at bandwidths up to 20 kHz per channel. The removable solid state medium allows recording of all 48 channels of vibration data for up to 70 hours, requiring download only after multiple flights, even in remote locations, if required.

Typhoon with two instrumented (inner blue nose) pods from Cranfield Aerospace

Typhoon with two instrumented (inner, blue nose) pods from Cranfield Aerospace.

Although the solid state “brick” may be removed for download or security purposes, the data can also be extracted after flight via an Ethernet port on the pod, and is then rapidly transferred to PC/s for analysis (e.g. PSD, APD, & time domain) using SST’s proven software. This provides detailed reports of the trials’ environmental parameters for evaluation by the customer.

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