Form 9.B Project Summary

Chron: 972559

Proposal Number: 01.05-9903

Project Title: Aircraft Integrity Radio Network Evaluation Technology (AIRNET)

Technical Abstract (Limit 200 words)

The advancing age of the U.S. commercial and military aircraft fleets pose increasing challenges to those personnel involved in insuring reliable aircraft maintenance and safety. Replacement costs and price competition encourage aircraft life extension. Current safety records indicate success with failure management. However, aging aircraft, inspection cost reduction, and recurring air carrier accidents demonstrate room for improvement. An airframe integrity monitoring system is needed that will provide constant inspection. The system is a multi-sensor, radio frequency, store-and-forward relay communications network capable of monitoring in-flight aircraft performance. Data from wireless sensor nodes installed throughout the aircraft is stored on a central communications node and is then transferred to an air-to-ground radio link. Ground stations are connected to telephone communications switches that provide data routing anywhere in the world. AIRNET data outputs would be switched to Internet web-sites. Condition-based maintenance (CBM) algorithms process data as it is collected in each of the sensor nodes. With such a system available, measurements and critical flight data are available that were previously restricted by installation complexity and cost. Because CBM technology is still in infant stages of development, the proposed system would also make raw data available to researchers in the business of algorithm development.

Potential Commercial Applications (Limit 200 words)

Invocon, Inc. is working with several large manufacturers of heavy equipment (earth moving) to define wireless systems that could eventually display vehicle health on the Internet. These companies feel the need to increase the level of service and product maintenance and thus are motivated to acquire data on the performance of the vehicles as they operate on a day to day basis. This not only requires wireless sensors at the data collection points, but also the low cost data transmission capabilities of the common user dial-up phone networks. As the Internet grows in acceptance as well as capacity, it too offers commercial data monitoring at attractive prices.

Manufacturing processes also benefit from conditioned based maintenance (CBM) data generated from wireless data acquisiton. Wiring in heavy manufacturing environments increases sensor monitoring hardware costs to prohibitive levels. Installation flexibility in a manufacturing arena is important for quick re-configuration of machines and processes. Integrated CBM data acquisition sytems can provide warning of impending failures in areas where the failure may leverage huge costs due to assembly line shut-downs. It can also provide tighter integration of the manufacturing processes by moving information from the factory floor to central points of analysis and decision making.

Name and Address of Principal Investigator (Name,

Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

Michael Walcer


9001 I-45 South, STE 530

Conroe , TX 77385

Name and Address of Offeror (Firm Name, Mail Address,


Mary Pate


9001 I-45 South, STE 530

Conroe , TX 77385