The US Federal Aviation Administration has awarded two contracts, with a combined value of $1.5 million, to Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems for development of its Arcsafer system for wire insulation integrity testing.

Because of the huge amounts of wiring in any aircraft, preventative maintenance procedures are time-consuming and involve error-prone visual inspections. The objective for the development work is to evaluate the merger of existing voltage technology with new spark-detection systems.

Arcsafer uses what its developers call the Micro-Energy Tool, an automated, patented high voltage technique, along with the Insulation Fault Probe, to determine the approximate distance to a wiring fault.

Arcsafer has been under development since 1997 and the new contracts will fund another six to 12 months of work. Industry has previously focused on developing circuit breakers able to detect and isolate arcing in aircraft wiring. But the work has been held up by delays in agreeing an industry standard for the devices.

Source: Flight International