Importance of Reliability Assessment to Helicopter Structural Component Fatigue Life Prediction
DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ORGANISATION VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA) AERONAUTICAL AND MARITIME RESEARCH LAB
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This simple sentence encapsulates the reasons why a lot of effort is expended to determine the life span of systems ranging from mechanical and electronic systems that we create to biological systems found in nature. We know that a system will fail what we often dont know is when the system will fail. For important or critical systems, we would be uncomfortable in using them without having an estimate of their time to failure. Hence, manufacturers specify the life of their system in terms such as hours, or operating cycles. When these lives are reached, some maintenance action is required that could range from a cursory visual inspection to overhaul to replacement. However, what maintenance manuals fail to show is that each stated life is associated with a defined level of reliability. This paper discusses the need for understanding reliability within the context of helicopter structures and presents a case for why such understanding is essential to successfully implementing better usage monitoring programs.