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Certification

Electric Aircraft Design Considerations

Electrical energy storage has reached a point where it is possible for the manned vehicle propulsion to use non-petroleum based energy. To achieve this goal, it has required a lot of research, design, and innovation that has pushed these vehicles to depend on high voltage electrical power systems and forego the use of hydraulics and pneumatics. If electrical aircraft are the aircraft of the future, what are the design factors that the EWIS community will have to address? Read more

AS4372 – Building a Wire/Cable Specification

While it is possible to start from scratch and develop an independent set of tests and performance requirements, there are existing standards that can be used to expedite the process. Read more

EWIS Physical Hazard Assessment

Aircraft system safety assessments are not a new concept. These safety assessments have a defined process for evaluating an aircraft which involve identifying its failure modes, top-level events, and eventual means to achieve an unsafe condition. Documents such as the SAE ARP4761 provide guidelines and methods for conducting the safety assessment process on civil airborne systems and equipment.

To follow the typical development cycle, the aircraft failure hazard assessment (FHA) is followed by the system failure hazard assessment and performed in parallel with the preliminary system safety assessments (PSSAs). This then evolves into the system safety assessments (SSA) and common cause analyses (CCAs). For those with a systems reliability background, this should all be second nature. For the rest of the community, these are often terms that we come across because of our work in this field.

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Wires and Fuel Compatibility

Whether by design or by accident, some wires in an aircraft will be exposed to jet fuel. Because of this, it is necessary to be prepared and select wires/cable types that will not suffer adverse effects of the exposure. Considering the impact of fuel on wiring is not idle musing about wiring systems; to quote the FAA AC120-97A, “Since 1959, there have been 18 fuel tank explosions on transport category airplanes”. Read more

Principles of EWIS System Safety (25.1709)

Of the regulations encapsulating the 25.17XX EWIS group, none is more complicated than 25.1709. This regulation, consisting of only 31 words, can be the result of thousands of hours of labor, hundreds of pages of documentation, and requiring inputs from just about every system group working on the vehicle. If you step back from the regulation and ask, “What is necessary to show compliance?” it comes down to several factors. Here, we review some of the basic principles of 25.1709, where it impacts and interacts with other systems in the vehicle. Read more

Have we Reached the End of Aging Aircraft Wiring Systems? – Part II

At the start of the last article, the question was posed, “Is it possible that aircraft wiring reached a point where aging/degradation is a thing of the past?” In that article, four elements were identified that must be satisfied for wires/cables to be considered as age-free. The insulation and conductor aging factors were examined in the last article, and here we consider the remaining two: Design limits and random shocks. Read more

25.981 is Not a Barrier – Part 2

FAA regulation 25.981 covers the requirements of fuel tank ignition prevention. While there are numerous elements that must be considered as part of the 25.981 regulation, this is a Lectromec series of articles, and here we focus on the electrical hazards that must be identified and mitigated as part of certification. Read more

25.981 is Not a Barrier

One area of aircraft certification where electrical energy and risk have always been considered is the fuel system. While it is obvious that limiting the exposure of fuel to electrical energy is advantageous, how this gets addressed from a safety and certification perspective is far from obvious. Read more

Testing the Performance of AFCBs

Arc Fault Circuit Protection has been a technology that dates back to the 1990s. Despite this not being a new technology, the breath of its implementation is still limited. The device owes its inception to arcing events that occurred on in-service aircraft. Because of these events, the wiring community sought to create wiring that was arc track resistant, and the circuit protection community sought to cut off the arcing event before too much energy was released. This has been captured in the requirements of AS5692 for AC circuit protection, and AS6019 for DC protection Read more

Maximum Harness Ampacity

The fundamental concept here is harness ampacity: the maximum amount of current transferred down a wire harness without exceeding the temperature rating for any component. Read more