RFID Enabled Health Monitoring System for Aircraft Landing Gear

28 Jun 2018

RFID has been used in the aviation industry to track and identify emergency equipment and other in-cabin assets on commercial aircraft for some time. Recently, the industry is looking to expand the use of RFID to more demanding parts and surfaces both inside and outside of an aircraft’s cabin, where RFID tags face much harsher conditions. The lLanding gear (LG) is one of the critical subsystems of an aircraft that plays an essential role in dispersing the energy of landing events and taxiing. Health monitoring of the LG has been suggested to help reduce both operational and maintenance costs, and extend the life of the LG beyond its current, fixed, designed service life. In this paper, we propose such a health monitoring system using a combination of active wired sensors and passive RFID tags. We present the measurement of UHF RFID tags on an aircraft landing gear using an aircraft-mounted fixed RFID reader. The results indicate that all major landing gear components and assemblies are shown to be identifiable by their EPC, and a 7 dB system margin has been achieved using 2 RFID reader antennas. Such a margin will tolerate degradations caused by harsh environments (e.g. low temperatures and high humidity) and enable update of information (e.g. flight count) to be stored on the RFID tags.