A review on the optimisation of aircraft maintenance with application to landing gears
Current maintenance programmes for key aircraft systems such as the landing gears are made up of several activities based around preventive and corrective maintenance scheduling. Within today’s competitive aerospace market innovative maintenance solutions are required to optimise aircraft maintenance, for both single aircraft and the entire fleet, ensuring that operators obtain the maximum availability from their aircraft. This has led to a move away from traditional preventive maintenance measures to a more predictive maintenance approach, supported by new health monitoring technologies. Future aircraft life will be underpinned by health monitoring, with the ability to quantify the health of aerospace systems and structures offering competitive decision-making advantages that are now vital for retaining customers and attracting new business. One such aerospace system is the actuator mechanisms used for extension, retraction and locking of the landing gears. The future of which will see the introduction of electromechanical replacements for the hydraulic systems present on the majority of civil aircraft. These actuators can be regarded as mission critical systems that must be guaranteed to operate at both take-off and landing. The health monitoring of these actuation systems can guarantee reliability, reduce maintenance costs and increase their operational life span. Aerospace legislation dictates that any decisions regarding maintenance, safety and flight worthiness must be justified and strict procedures followed. This has inevitably led to difficulties in health monitoring solutions meeting the necessary requirements for aerospace integration. This paper provides the motivation for the research area through reviewing current aircraft maintenance practices and how health monitoring is likely to play a future strategic role in maintenance operations. This is achieved with reference to current research work into developing a health monitoring system to support novel electromechanical actuators for use in aircraft landing gears. The difficulties associated with integrating new health monitoring technology into an aircraft are also reviewed, with perspectives given on the reasons for the current slow integration of health monitoring systems into aerospace.
KeywordsHealth Monitoring Preventive Maintenance Landing Gear Maintenance Management Corrective Maintenance
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