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

Abstract:
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%).