Health Monitoring for Electro-mechanical Nose Landing Gear Door Actuator of a UAV, Based on Simulation Modelling and Data-driven Techniques

Author: Ferreiro, S., Jimenez, A., Madariaga, J., Novillo, E., Fernandez, S., Alia, A., and Morante, E. Date2013

Nowadays, the aerospace industry has to maintain and improve its global competitiveness and meet the demand of the new requirements which are constantly emerging. 

This need for improvement consists of two main issues that have to be considered: the reduction of economic costs and the technological advance. Both provide an additional value to the product. The aerospace industry, along with other industries, has found it necessary to develop more flexible and versatile systems, which are also economical, reliable and simple. The maintenance strategy is not stipulated in a clear and simple way and sometimes it requires Health Monitoring (HM) systems to allow monitors to determine the state of the systems for early detection of failures. Nevertheless, this technology is still in an early stage of development and more research is needed to demonstrate its feasibility.

This article presents the development of a HM system for an electro-mechanical nose-landing gear door actuator of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), based on a combination of simulation modelling and datadriven techniques. The aim of the work is to detect some failures at early stages so as to avoid a catastrophic fault that may cause serious damage to the UAV. The present work explains all the steps undertaken for a final HM system development: from the phase of data acquisition to that of the evaluation of the algorithms. This work is part of a Spanish national project in collaboration with the aeronautical systems company CESA, and it defines how to create a monitoring system from the actuator design stage.

The main contribution of this system is to continuously measure the state and health of the actuator based on its internal frictions, the evolution along time of a ratio between the signal command and the measurement in every cycle of the effect produced by this command. The evolution of this ratio provides the opportunity to evaluate the loss of the performance on the actuator.