This proposal targets the improvement of NASA?s ground and flight test aeronautics testing capabilities. Potential end users within NASA include ground test facilities such as Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR) and Flight Loads Laboratory (FLL), as well as flight facilities such as AFRC with both piloted and unmanned systems. Real-time, in-flight data regarding combustor condition and emissions species can provide a previously unavailable test capability for NASA. Monitoring of bleed air for contaminants and fuel backflow is also an area of interest.
The air delivered to the cabin of a passenger aircraft is commonly bled from the compressor section of the aircraft?s engines, and conditioned before supplied to the cabin. Under normal conditions, this bleed air is clean and suitable for breathing. However, the bleed air may be contaminated by exhaust ingestion, lubricant leaks, or other potential faults in the system. Aircrew and frequent fliers are exposed to cabin air repeatedly and for extended periods of time, increasing the changes of exposure to contamination events. Recent air contamination events resulted in the emergency landing of a commercial flight. There is currently increased interest from commercial passenger aircraft manufacturers and operators to incorporate sensors to monitoring bleed air quality to avoid exposure of harmful or noxious gases to passengers and crew. MEI is currently in discussions with The Boeing Company looking at sensor approaches for bleed air monitoring. MEI has also been working with Cobham Mission System (CMS) on pilot breathing air quality monitoring for the Air Force for aircraft which use On-board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) to supply pilot breathing air.