US developer of helicopter health monitoring systems GPMS International has received organisation designation authorisation (ODA) approval to install Foresight MX on the Mi- family of helicopters. Foresight MX is GPMS's next-gen health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) and the Mi- series kit is adapted to Mi-8, Mi-17, and Mi-171 aircraft and variants. The company is already accepting orders for this comprehensive helicopter performance monitoring system on the Mi- platform.
“GPMS is committed to bringing advanced helicopter health monitoring to the world's rotorcraft,” says president Jed Kalkstein. “Our work on the Mi- series demonstrates that we can adapt our predictive, full-featured Foresight MX HUMS to large, global platforms.”
The engineering and certification work is being done in partnership with VTS Aviation, a US-based specialist in the Mi- family of helicopters, and Avia-Grade, a Ukrainian avionics, aero engineering and maintenance organisation. The installation was performed by Avia-Grade on its Mi-8 at the Motor Sich engine manufacturing and overhaul facility in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
The Mi- series of helicopters were originally designed in Russia and over 11,000 have been produced. Today, the aircraft are produced by Russian Helicopters and models have evolved from the Mi-8 to the Mi-171. The aircraft are flown in over 80 countries performing humanitarian relief missions as well as a wide range of utility applications, including firefighting.
To date, few commercial or military HUMS have been adapted on the older Mi- series helicopters, and current production models lack this avionics system. “This capability hasn't been readily available for the Mi- series helicopters before, and today's operators and their customers are demanding mechanical system and flight data monitoring to ensure safety, availability and asset optimisation,” continues Kalkstein. “Foresight MX delivers this through a modern, lightweight kit.”
For the Mi- series helicopters, the aftermarket Foresight MX kit weighs under seven kg exclusive of sensor wire. Comprised of 16 CPU-equipped smart sensors, three tachometers and an onboard control unit, the kit can be installed in roughly 140 hours. The certification package was ODA approved in accordance with FAA supplemental type certificate requirements and is available for local civil aviation authority authorisation.
The Mi- series kit is the data acquisition layer to GPMS's Foresight MX system. On board, the control unit marshals mechanical and rotor track and balance acquisitions and gathers flight parameters off the avionics. Once on the ground, Foresight automatically and wirelessly uploads this data for processing. Operators can then access the Foresight MX application to review the data from any browser-based device. Foresight MX on the Mi- series provides engine and drivetrain machine condition monitoring on 37 shafts, 37 gears and 50 bearings; flight data monitoring on over 42 parameters together with exceedance capture and alerting, as well as rotor track and balance with optimised solutions available after every flight.
VTS Aviation's Greg Vose adds: “The Mi- family of helicopters has long been recognised as an exceptionally useful platform. Today we have operators, be they government entities interested in predictive maintenance or mining companies focused on safety, asking us about advanced monitoring capabilities. They now need that platform utility and ways to reduce time spent on troubleshooting and rotor track and balance. GPMS, which is quite simply the world leader in this category, has produced a lightweight, modern system we know the market will respond to.”
The Foresight MX-equipped aircraft is scheduled to enter service supporting the UN World Food Programme's humanitarian mission in Africa beginning early 2022.