Health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) are well established as a key helicopter safety feature, giving operators a complete picture of how critical systems and components, such as engines and rotors, are performing. Analysis of data collected identifies performance trends and allows maintenance needs to be met effectively, improving reliability by reducing unplanned work and aircraft downtime.
Now, GPMS is seeking to bring the benefits of HUMS to electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft through its new Foresight MX system. In October, Beta Technologies agreed to trial the HUMS package on its new Alia prototype aircraft.
Foresight MX provides mechanical diagnostics and prognostics, including engine performance monitoring, flight regime recognition, and automated data acquisition, as well as optimizing the track and balance of rotors or propellers. Importantly for the generally smaller eVTOL aircraft, the new system weighs a lot less than a standard helicopter HUMS.
During flight testing, the Beta engineering team will be able monitor how Alia is performing, with access to data and analytics to support advanced analytics and predictive maintenance. Operators can receive automatic alerts via email or text messages.
According to Cornwall, Vermont-based GPMS, Foresight MX will eventually give Beta an affordable means of reducing operating costs for its eVTOL by having early notification of impending maintenance requirements. By reducing the size and weight of the equipment, the company believes it will be suitable for many other eVTOL models. The new system is based on the Amazon Web Services IoT cloud.
“eVTOLs share with traditional helicopters the need to understand and continuously evaluate the health and condition of key mechanical systems,” said GPMS CEO and chief engineer Eric Bechhoefer.