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Flight Data Recorder-Compatible Position Transducers

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See our Fall 1999 Position Measurement & Control newsletter highlighting flight data recorder applications (requires Adobe Reader).

News Release


PALMDALE, CALIFORNIA USA -- Responding to an FAA mandate requiring that increased flight data parameters be monitored on commercial aircraft, SpaceAge Control, Inc. now offers position transducers compatible with commercial aircraft flight data recorders. The products have size, weight, and installation advantages over traditional rod-and-cylinder transducers such as LVDTs and linear potentiometers. In addition, they offer easier mounting than rotary synchro and RVDT sensors.

SpaceAge Control position transducers were first developed in the late 1960's to monitor aircraft flight control surfaces for NASA. Since that time, these products have been used in a broad range of aircraft/aerospace applications for control, acquisition, test, and measurement purposes. Most recently, they have been used with military aircraft flight data recorders.

The flexible and space-efficient products use a stainless steel cable wound around a precision-machined drum. The bearing-mounted drum is mated to a precision sensor based on potentiometric, synchro, RVDT, or encoder technology that translates linear position information to an electrical signal. This transducer technology gives high precision, easy installation, and fast calibration. The products are quickly mounted using high-flexibility mounting bases or custom installation plates.

The products feature anodized aluminum cases, threaded/grooved drums for enhanced repeatability, up to -65 to +125 C operating temperature range, and operate for up to 50 million cycles. Over 60 models ranging from 0 - 1.5 to 0 - 42.5 inches are offered in package sizes as small as 0.75-inch square by 0.38-inch thick.

For more information on aviation-related uses, see the included with this news release. For more information on the FAA ruling requiring expanded parameter monitoring, please visit (this is the text from the FAA's Web site giving background information on the issue, why the requirement was made, and what the requirement is).

SpaceAge Control, Inc. designs and manufactures position transducers and air data products for virtually every commercial, military, and general aviation company in the world. The company was founded in 1968 and its quality system complies with ISO 9001.

# # #

Editorial Contact

Tom Anderson, Application Development Manager
SpaceAge Control, Inc.
38850 20th Street East
Palmdale, CA 93550 USA
661-273-3000 Ext. 102, 661-273-4240 (fax)

Below are news releases from our Australian representative, Raytheon Systems Company Australia, providing background information on the use of SpaceAge Control, Inc. position transducers in their flight (crash) data recorder applications.


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- November 1996 -- Raytheon Systems Company Australia (RSCA) has completed a number of major milestones for the Royal Australian Air Force's Transport and Training Aircraft Crash Data Recorder project, contracted on 3 May 1996.

In the six months since contract signature, RSCA has achieved accreditation as one of the RAAF's few Design Authorised Contractors (DACs), and the only DAC for Crash Data Recorder systems. This relieves the RAAF of much of the design review burden required, and enables RSCA to present approved designs for each installation. Approval as a DAC was granted following an exhaustive review of RSCA' engineering system by the RAAF's Directorate of Technical Airworthiness (DTA) engineering staff.

RSCA has also completed installing Crash Position Indicators (CPIs) and Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVRs) into the entire Macchi fleet. This installation was completed ahead of schedule in seven weeks and was undertaken concurrently at No 25 Squadron in Pearce (WA) and No 76 Squadron in Williamtown (NSW) by RSCA technical staff.

The third major milestone completed by RSCA was the prototype installation and testing of the CVR, CPI and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) into a PC9/A aircraft at East Sale. This complex modification proceeded without any major interruptions and was satisfactorily flight tested by the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU). Following review of the Acceptance Test Report raised by RSCA and delivery of the modification kits, the fleet installation shall commence in early 1997.

The design, integration and installation of the flight data recorder requires modification to flight critical existing aircraft systems, such as flight controls, and installs instrumentation to provide signals to the flight data recorder. This instrumentation includes position transducers, temperature probes, and signal conditioners and needed to be researched and supplied by RSCA. A high degree of knowledge of the aircraft's systems and the new equipment is necessary to ensure the modification does not detrimentally effect the aircraft's control or systems.

These successes and pleasing progress have resulted in the RAAF proceeding with Phase 2 of the requirement following successful contract negotiations with RSCA being finalised on 21 November 1996. The resultant contract amendment added $2.1 million to the contract value and will result in CDR equipment being fitted to C130H, Caribou, HS748, Dakota and B707 aircraft.

RSCA is certified to ISO 9001. RSCA specialises in providing high technology aerospace services in consultancy, systems engineering, specialist product and manufacturer representation, and experimental flight test services. RSCA is also the Australian representative for IPTN, the Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer, currently a lead contender for the Caribou replacement program. Based in Sydney and Canberra, RSCA is also heavily involved in providing aircraft design, modification, installation and flight test services to the RAAF and Army.


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- July 1997 -- Raytheon Systems Company Australia (RSCA) has been selected as the preferred tenderer for the Army's project to supply, integrate and install Crash Data Recorders to their five fleets of aircraft. The project will be managed by Army Logistics Management Squadron in Oakey, QLD and has received high levels of oversight within the ADF in recent months.

RAAF Logistics Command released the tender requesting proposals for the design, integration, installation, test and evaluation, supply and logistics support of the Crash Data Recorder systems. The systems will be integrated into the Army's Black Hawk, Chinook, Iroquois, Kiowa and Squirrel aircraft. A total of 128 aircraft will be modified over a period of 2 years.

The Army's selection of RSCA for this project has been welcomed by Paul Evans, RSCA's Engineering Manager. Mr Evans stated "RSCA will be able to use the experiences of the successful RAAF Crash Data Recorder project to benefit this similar Army program. We intend using the same team that has completed designs on the seven RAAF training and transport fleets, and also use interfacing systems that have been designed and proven on the RAAF aircraft." Mr Evans believes that the background provided by the RAAF project provided the Army with the opportunity to select an experienced team with proven equipment and a low risk solution.

The Crash Data Recorder systems sought by the Army include Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVRs), Flight Data Recorders (FDRs) and Crash Position Indicators (CPIs), with supporting equipment. The CVR systems assist accident investigations by recording aircrew voice, radio and ambient sound. The FDR systems record aircraft and system parameters, highlighting the condition and performance of the aircraft prior to an accident. The CPIs aid in the location of aircraft following accidents using radio and satellite transmissions.

RSCA offered a number of options for the Army to select. The preferred CVR and FDR systems for the Army are to be manufactured by L3 Communications Advanced Recorders (formerly Lockheed Martin Advanced Recorders). The preferred CPI will be manufactured by Artex. The same systems were selected by the RAAF for their requirement and are currently being installed. Full in-country support is established for the systems.

The Black Hawk aircraft will be the first aircraft to have the systems installed. RSCA will be designing the modifications for fitment of the systems to the aircraft, providing all drawings and technical publication amendments, complete modifications kits, and installation of the systems. The five Army fleets will be installed by September 1999.

This success by RSCA follows quickly on the heels of two other contract awards by the Commonwealth for the conduct of P3 Flight Tests and F111 Flight Test Study activities.

RSCA is certified to ISO 9001. RSCA specialises in providing high technology aerospace services in consultancy, systems engineering, specialist product and manufacturer representation, and experimental flight test services. RSCA is also the Australian representative for IPTN, the Indonesian state owned aircraft company, recently shortlisted as a contender for the Caribou Replacement, Project Air 5190. With offices in Sydney, Canberra and now also in Adelaide, RSCA is heavily involved in providing aircraft design, modification and installation services to the RAAF and Army.

For further details contact:

Paul Evans - Engineering Manager • +61-2-9451-2000 • +61-2-9451-2999 (fax) •

Copyright 1997 Raytheon Systems Company Australia

Page last modified on 2006-11-26 03:59
SpaceAge Control, Inc.
An ISO9001:2000/AS9100B-Compliant Company
38850 20th Street East • Palmdale, CA 93550 USA
661-273-3000 • Fax: 661-273-4240 •
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