Inference Of Helicopter Airframe Condition
Waljinder S. Gill, Ian T. Nabney, Daniel Wells

The goal of this paper is to model normal airframe conditions for helicopters in order to detect changes. This is done by inferring the flying state using a selection of sensors and frequency bands that are best for discriminating between different states. We used non-linear state-space models (NLSSM) for modelling flight conditions based on short-time frequency analysis of the vibration data and embedded the models in a switching framework to detect transitions between states. We then created a density model (using a Gaussian mixture model) for the NLSSM innovations: this provides a model for normal operation. To validate our approach, we used data with added synthetic abnormalities which was detected as low-probability periods. The model of normality gave good indications of faults during the flight, in the form of low probabilities under the model, with high accuracy (>92%).