ALGeSMo – Advanced Landing Gear Sensing and Monitoring
is a European Union Clean Sky 2 (CS2) Joint Technology Initiative. It brings together a Consortium from across Europe to deliver a state-of-the-art optically-based load monitoring system for aircraft landing gear.

This project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 717179.

Why ALGeSMo?

It aims as yielding a step change in the way landing gear is utilised and managed in operational and flight situations, leading to a new paradigm in aircraft availability and operability. It assists the development of European capability within this domain such that Europe is now better positioned to provide state-of-the-art equipment to future aircraft development.

On-board landing gear load sensing and monitoring systems do not exist yet on the market. The development and integration of such a system is responding to the market and environmental needs for:

  • Increased aircraft availability
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Increased safety
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This relates to its positive influence on either improved monitoring – low Design Assurance Level (DAL) – or control – high DAL – of the aircraft. For example, landing gear overload detection is performed either through the judgement of the pilot based on displayed flight parameters or through automatic detection based on accelerometers. The first is not accurate as it is based on pilot judgement and the second does not capture asymmetric landings.

The objective of ALGeSMo was to develop a sensing system that measures load and torque at the landing gear and provides these data for use in aircraft systems, including hard landing and overload detection, health monitoring, flight management and flight controls.

A partnership to lead to a new paradigm in aircraft operability

EU joint technology initiatives are led by consortia of industries and academic partners, bringing key capabilities and shaping research strategy. Where possible, they implement the new technologies they are sponsored to develop, bringing them to market to support the EU and Clean Sky goals.

Under EU Clean Sky 2, the Airframe Sensing division of Meggitt PLC, was leading a Consortium of 5 partners in collaboration with the project Topic Manager (Airbus UK facility). The Consortium aimed to deliver a step change in the way landing gear was utilised and managed in operational and flight situations. It lead to a new paradigm in aircraft availability and operability.

The ALGeSMo Consortium included Meggitt Power & Sensing UK and Swiss facilities, Meggitt Composites UK facility as well as two Partners located in the Netherlands, Technobis (specialized in high tech optical instruments and modules) and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR).

ALGeSMo was an Innovation Action (IA) which fell under WP4 (Landing Gear Systems) of the Systems ITD (Integrated Technology Demonstrator) within the framework of Clean Sky 2.

The project was also supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) which was partially funding the project activities under the responsibility of the Meggitt Swiss entity.

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A novelty in the aerospace industry

The project took a fully integrated system from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 through to the integration of a representative final system on an iron-bird test rig with the objective to demonstrate TRL 5. This included the integration of load and torque sensors into the landing gear axle of a large passenger aircraft to provide robust, accurate, reliable load measurements and the potential for Health Monitoring capability. The sensors measure loads using an optical system based on Fibre Bragg Grating technology.

The project covered a complete framework of activities, starting with the integration of dedicated optical fibres into composite structures, the development an optical harness (cable and connectors) meeting aircraft installation requirements, the readout of the optical fibre sensor with state-of-the-art miniature optoelectronics and the processing and communication of the data.

Project goals

The ALGeSMo Consortium has created a novel optically-based landing gear load and torque monitoring system by combining and developing the latest research and most promising current technologies with the objective to deliver:

  • A Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) optical sensor system using Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) techniques to accurately detect and translate landing gear strain and torque to the aircraft control systems
  • A state-of-the-art and highly accurate integrated photonics fibre-optic interrogator that results in the smallest system currently available anywhere in the world. This has made integration and certification of the system highly achievable compared to existing optical interrogator systems
  • Detailed design of system architecture and integration to ensure that the appropriate Design Assurance Level (DAL) requirement can be achieved
  • Definition and build of loading and calibration rigs in order to characterise sub-system and system components using a full landing gear slider tube assembly
  • Completion of system testing and partial qualification testing to de-risk the technology and demonstrate TRL5
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