Investigative Research, FMECA and PHM Modeling of Hybrid-Electric Distributed Propulsion System Architectures

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc.
P.O. Box 595
Pismo Beach, CA 93448
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Hybrid-Electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) is becoming widely accepted and new tools will be required for future development with validation and demonstrations during ground and eventually flight testing. To monitor the overall HEDP system health in real time, a virtual requirement to flight qualify any architecture hardware components, reliability centered maintenance (RCM) applied to prognostics and health management (PHM) will yield significant improvement in HEDP system reliability, availability, safety and cost. This work will identify the tools and create a generic methodology for the PHM of a HEDP system based on RCM and failure mode data of likely HEDP architecture components. The proposed work will notionally design a PHM system into a HEDP system architecture, with feedback systems from each component within the stated architecture, as well as potential mitigation strategies for component failure modes. Specific attention will be applied to understanding of the reliability, availability, and safety for the HEDP components. Heating, arching, unexpected voltage drop, and other potential electronic pitfalls will be identified and mitigated. ESAero will leverage their component databases, experience with HEDP component architectures, aircraft design, and vendor relationships while General Atomics (GA) will provide expertise in PHM with their HealthMap software.