Optical Weight and Center of Gravity Measurement System

Period of Performance: 11/13/2006 - 10/28/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator


Luna Innovations Incorporated is partnering with a major helicopter manufacturer to develop a Center-of-Gravity (C.G.) and Gross-Weight (G.W.) measurement system for Blackhawk Helicopters. The proposed optical fiber-based measurement system will enable real-time monitoring of the C.G. of the rotorcraft during loading and unloading in-flight. The system will provide input to the Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) as well as to the pilot and the autopilot systems enabling safer, more accurate flight control. The proposed system may also enable fly-by-wire for future upgrade of the helicopter, extending the flight envelope beyond the normal stability limits, improving performance and mission capability. Luna has a 15year history of strain sensing, instrumentation development, and thermal compensation. During Phase I Luna will develop a breadboard C.G. measurement system and demonstrate that the prototype system can accurately determine C.G. in the rotorcraft. The system will also be able to determine amplitude and orientation of load vectors of cargo attached to external hooks. Luna will develop sensor, cabling and instrumentation designs for compatibility with UH-60 components. Algorithms for C.G. and G.W. measurement will be developed with immunity to thermal effects. Phase II will optimize the system design, demonstrate durability, accuracy, resulting in a TRL5 readiness.