Kit helicopter manufacturer Rotorway International has demonstrated an online engine diagnostic system which it claims goes beyond that available with most certificated aircraft.

The company developed the system on its Exec 162F kit helicopter, which is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). This dual-redundant system monitors and controls the piston engine's fuel/air mixture, ignition advance and optional ignition spark control, and provides overspeed limiting through spark and fuel control.

Preliminary trials of the online diagnostic system were conducted with Dornier Aviation Nigeria AIEP (DANA), which is using the Exec 162F for agricultural spraying in the Nigerian bush (Flight International, 3-9 March).

Rotorway says DANA linked the FADEC processors to a laptop computer and connected via a modem with computers at the factory in Chandler, Arizona. With the engine running, Rotorway engineers could monitor FADEC data while communicating with the pilot via a "chat" program.

Using the online link, Rotorway engineers instructed the FADEC to push all functions out of their normal range, and the engine stopped as expected. The unit was reset to normal via the modem link, enabling the engine to restart. During tests, says the company, the factory computer was in complete control of the process.

The online diagnostic capability is planned to be available to all Exec 162F customers worldwide in the second quarter of this year, says Rotorway, and will eliminate downtime by assisting operators to identify and correct engine and FADEC problems.

Source: Flight International