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Maintenance & Sustainment

Wire Diagnostic Equipment

Finding wire faults/damage is not an easy task; now consider that problem across an entire aircraft. In-situ testing of wires/cables has always been viewed as something of a challenge to the industry. Given the branching that most harnesses undergo, the various wire lengths, splices, and numerous termination conditions, it can be difficult. Attempts to automate some of the testing has come to the development of Automatic Wire Test Sets (AWTS [pronounced “Eh-Wits”]).

Because there are so many ways to test a wire harness, the US military sought to create a performance standard to cover the general ideas and best practices of this equipment. Here, we review the standard and some of the performance features that can be expected when using equipment in compliance with the standard

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Checking a Coaxial Cable for Damage with a Multimeter – Part II

In the last article, Lectromec introduced a damaged coaxial cable and tried three techniques to distinguish it from an undamaged cable. The standard multimeter tests (capacitance, inductance, and resistance measurements) found no appreciable difference.

The idea of this evaluation was to demonstrate that the classic multimeter, while a great tool, is not suitable for detecting damage to coaxial cables.

But we cannot run an article and leave it without a solution. In this article, we continue the testing of a damaged coax cable to see what technology, if any, can identify and perhaps locate the damaged section of cable.

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Checking a Coaxial Cable for Damage with a Multimeter

The electronic multimeter is a great tool; invented in the 1920s, the multimeter has been used by millions of technicians and engineers seeking to measure circuits and troubleshoot electrical issues. So common are these tools now that it is almost impossible to consider a toolbox complete without one. 

While these are great tools and can be employed in a million situations, they are not the magic tool that can diagnose every circuit. If only one thing is remembered from this article: multimeters are not the tool to use for coaxial cables

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How Much Does the Aircraft Environment Impact Wire Life?

When looking to select any aircraft component, typically the first means of down selecting from the wide variety of components that exists is based on the component’s performance characteristics i.e. can it perform the function to support the system. Next, the question then evolves to selecting those components that are best suited for the environmental conditions. This last part is more than just selecting the parts that are rated for the environmental conditions but also those that will have a long service life in those conditions. Ideally, the part will be reliable the entire service life of the aircraft and not require any replacement or additional maintenance; however, that usually is not the case (see Lectromec’s article on the immortal wire/cable). Read more

Is my aircraft wiring serviceable?

A concept employed in the civil engineering field is that of serviceability. At its core, a structure should only remain in-service as long as it is serviceable. A serviceability limit should be based on measurable performance criterion that, if exceeded, remove it from service. In limit state design, the structure fails its serviceability if the criteria of the serviceability limit state are not met during the service life with the required reliability. Read more

EWIS Instructions for Continued Airworthiness

Here we look at the last 95% of an aircraft life: operation and maintenance. In this, we review the regulatory requirements around EWIS instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA) and some of the resources that can be used to ensure a smooth certification process for your wiring system. 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

Condition Based Maintenance and Risk Quantification

Aircraft maintenance is usually broken down one of two ways: by physical zones or by systems. The mechanical equipment and subsystems integrity program, also known as MECSIP, is the US Air Force’s approach to addressing aircraft sustainment and maintenance through focused system evaluation. Last week, MECSIP managers from many of the Air Force fleets gathered in Dayton, Ohio to discuss the latest developments, procedures, and technologies for addressing the MECSIP needs of their fleets. Read more

FAQs of EWIS Service Life Extension Programs

Lectromec has accumulated a set of frequently asked questions related to wire system sustainment. Here, we cover several high level questions about the assessment and its value and the subsequent article we will delve into some of the more technical details. Read more