The Society of Flight Test Engineers 




Mr. Diarmuid Corry 
Director of Business Development, Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics
Mr. Jason Niebuhr
Senior Research Engineer, Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE), US Air Force Academy
Dr. James Greer
Technical Director, Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE), US Air Force Academy

Ms. Elisabeth O’Brien
Sr. Marketing Specialist, Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics

  This paper describes an innovative approach to implementing and packaging a versatile data acquisition system for capturing load factor counts in the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) glider training environment. The solution was developed by the Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE) using commercial off-the-shelf flight test data acquisition equipment from the Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics and Electronics division (CWC-AE).
  The system captures vertical load factor counts on aircraft for both acrobatic and basic mission types with two goals: to determine if the aircraft can safely fly missions interchangeably, and to compare with OEM load spectrum to assess the severity of usage in the USAFA glider training environment. The system has been designed so it could be installed or removed from the aircraft within minutes to maximize flexibility. In order to minimize the maintenance burden of installation or removal, attachment to the glider does not require tools, aircraft modifications, or mechanical fasteners.
  The integration of a COTS system into existing space in the aircraft is described in this paper. To date, four production units have been built, installed, and are currently successfully recording data in USAFA gliders.