Rotary‐ and fixed‐wing aircraft owners rarely operate their aircraft the way aircraft manufacturers envisaged during design. The effects of perturbing the amount of time spent in flight conditions, on both component fatigue damage and life‐cycle costs, are investigated
in this article. Seemingly small perturbations in flight hours can lead to large changes in fatigue and costs. A set of influence coefficients are developed to determine the effects of spectrum perturbations on both fatigue and cost. These influence coefficients
give both qualitative (“importance” ordering) and quantitative (sensitivity) information regarding all flight conditions. The resulting procedure is easy both to implement and use, and allows the operator to determine the effects of different spectra on both damage and cost. In
deriving these results only three assumptions are made: costs vary continuously with time, Miner's rule is valid, and the fatigue damage calculated for the original usage spectrum is correct. As an example, the design spectrum of a Black Hawk helicopter is perturbed, and the resulting fatigue
and cost effects are investigated. The outlined procedures have the potential to return large cost savings and safety improvements for both rotary‐ and fixed‐wing aircraft operators.
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Document Type: Research Article
Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Melbourne, Australia
Publication date: 2003-04-01
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