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Aerospace Flight Test

Because of the complexity of the flight test application and breadth of PCB’s product line, this site offers the most commonly used subset of PCB’s flight test sensors and signal conditioners. The variety of flight test measurement requirements creates a proliferation of sensor/signal conditioning types.

This catalogue contains the following sensor types:

  • Accelerometers for specialized dynamic tests such as flutter and stability/controllability characterization
  • Accelerometers for load factor measurement
  • High-temperature accelerometers and pressure sensors for measuring engine-excited vibration, as well as combustion and compressor instabilities
  • Accelerometers and dynamic force sensors for the measurement of vehicle responses to loads for fatigue, strength, and stiffness/ compliance characterization – many of these sensors may also be used for such specialized testing as aircraft carrier qualification
  • Pressure sensors and microphones for characterization of cockpit/cabin, payload and external acoustic environments. These sensors span a variety of pressure dynamic ranges from low-level cabin sound pressure to launch acoustics environments to cyclic pressures capable of inducing high-cycle fatigue
  • Accelerometers and dynamic pressure sensors for characterizing the interaction between engines, airborne subsystems and the vehicle structure
  • Accelerometers for the measurement of the aircraft and related systems’ responses to mission, such as ordnance firing/release
  • Accelerometers for the characterization of ordnance performance, related to the above

Flight testing presents some of the test community’s greatest challenges. It is extremely expensive, test article availability is inevitably limited, timeframes are often compressed and unpredictable, and the sensors with associated instrumentation have to perform properly on the first attempt, even in rigorous environments. This testing can be a single event or it may encompass multiple tests over months or even years.

Through decades of collaboration with flight test engineers, PCB® has developed a set of sensors and signal conditioners tailored to flight test’s demanding environments. These include:

  • Internally amplified (ICP®) triaxial accelerometers, as small as a 0.25 inch cube, that add minimal weight and occupy very little volume n Conveniently packaged signal conditioners that accept poorly regulated on-board power and condition signals from piezoelectric sensors
  • DC accelerometers (those that measure down to zero Hz) that include internal power regulation to accept a broad range of power voltages
  • Thermally insensitive piezoelectric accelerometers for rapidly changing temperature environments
  • In appropriate sensors, integral temperature compensation
  • Low profile accelerometers and piezoelectric pressure sensors, for minimal aerodynamic disruption
  • Hermetic sensors and contamination-resistant connectors, for wet or dusty environments
  • Accelerometers that meet strict outgassing limits, for space applications
  • Robust connectors and cables manufactured by PCB®
  • Radiation tolerant accelerometers, for space applications
  • Accelerometers that tolerate shock load orders of magnitude larger than their maximum dynamic ranges
  • Low impedance ICP® sensors and instrumentation that maximize electromagnetic interference rejection
  • Sensors that include built-in filtering to identify customer defined performance or to protect integral amplifiers from saturation, for specific applications

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