3430. Systems Weight Estimation Enhanced Method for Early Project Phases


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Isabelle Banel-Caule: 3430. Systems Weight Estimation Enhanced Method for Early Project Phases. 2007, (Mike Hackney Best Paper Award).



From the beginning, the A380 was identified as a challenge in many fields: market, configuration, performance, environment, costs, etc. Many innovations in aircraft systems were studied for the A380 with the objective to reduce weight. An aircraft of such size benefits from any weight savings on the systems, hence new architectures and new technology investigations were encouraged. This approach is extended to subsequent Airbus aircraft programs. On a new aircraft, more and more different architectures and technologies are possible for a given system. Our objective is to identify the best possible configuration early in the project life cycle. The choice of the architecture and the technology is done following analysis of numerous key criteria: performance, reliability, cost, technical feasibility, mass, etc. Airbus weight department is associated with systems department to perform the mass parameter analysis. Doing this supports the constant objective of aircraft weight reduction for better aircraft performance. In this context, it became apparent that our systems mass and center of gravity estimation methods for early project phases should be improved in terms of sensitivity and accuracy. This would enable the right decision to be made on systems architecture and technology more rapidly and therefore deliver a more mature configuration earlier in the aircraft project. Support from the systems organization was solicited to develop rule-based methods which reflect its existing sizing process and methodology. These methods accurately predict the mass of a system and provide the correct sensitivity to key design parameters in all early project phases. They enable the assessment of the impact of different architectures and technologies on mass and allow rapid weight estimation of various configurations from the earliest project phases, reinforcing the position of mass as a key parameter for systems configuration and architecture choice. This paper describes the generic process used to develop these methods. The process is applied to the hydraulics systems for more concrete understanding. Finally, use cases are presented to illustrate which type of studies can be carried out. It will be demonstrated how the evolution of the aircraft geometry will affect the mass of the hydraulic system, followed by a comparison of the mass of two different flight controls configurations. They provide clear examples of the sensitivity studies that can be carried out with these methods to obtain better systems, and even aircraft configuration selection, at an earlier stage.


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