Electro-Hydraulic Servo-Actuators (EHSA) are currently the most used actuation technology for primary flight control systems of civil and military aircrafts. Although some alternatives have emerged in the last decade, such as electromechanical or electro-hydrostatic solutions, electrohydraulic systems are still considered the most effective technology in flight-critical application of new commercial aircrafts. Moreover, the vast majority of aircraft currently in service are equipped with this technology. Considering the number of actuators typically employed in a primary flight control system and the expected service life of a commercial aircraft, the development of an effective PHM system could provide significant benefits to fleet operators and aircraft maintenance. This paper presents the results of a feasibility study of such a system for electro-hydraulic actuators used in fly-by-wire primary flight control systems, considering the actuator of a wide body commercial aircraft as use case. Aim of the research is the implementation of a PHM system without the addition of dedicated sensors, solution which would allow for the application of the proposed prognostic solution on both new and existing platforms. This paper describes the methodology and the results of the feasibility study through simulation and experimental activities, which shows how the novel PHM technologies proposed for a PHM system for the EHSAs of primary flight control actuators can allow the migration from scheduled to condition-based maintenance.
Failure prognostics, Electro-Hydraulic actuators, Flight Control Actuators
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