The FAA's role in arc-fault research
In 1997, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security requested that the FAA institute regulatory and research programs to address aging non-structural systems, issues not covered at that time by the FAA's Aging Aircraft Program and Aging Aircraft Research Program. In response, the FAA released the Aging Transport Non-structural Systems Plan (ATNSP) to evaluate the effectiveness of current practices for design, maintenance, and repair in preventing or mitigating aircraft accidents precipitated by degradation or damage to aircraft non-structural systems. Based on these evaluations, recommendations will be made for changes to the current processes under which systems are designed, maintained, and repaired. The ATNSP calls for the FAA to add the following tasks to the Aging Aircraft Research Program:
• To assess the degradation of airplane wire and determine the point at which wire degradation may hazard safe flight.
• To establish the condition of aging aircraft wiring components and validate the adequacy of visual inspection.
• To develop non-destructive testing tools for inspection and testing of wiring systems.
• To develop arc-fault circuit interrupter for transport aircraft.
• To perform destructive testing of flight control linkages.
In the area of arc-fault circuit breakers, the FAA has worked with the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research and the Naval Air System Command, Aircraft Division on development of aircraft arc-fault circuit breakers.
To find out more about the FAA Aging Non-structural Systems Research, contact:
Airport and Aircraft Safety R&D Division
Airworthiness Assurance R&D Branch
Maintenance, Inspection, and Repair Section,
Federal Aviation Administration
William J. Hughes Technical Center
Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405
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