RFDS South Eastern Section gets FAST on engine monitoring

An RFDS King Air. (Paul Sadler)
An RFDS King Air. (Paul Sadler)

The Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDS SE) has signed up to Pratt & Whitney Canada’s (PW&C) FAST prognostics engine monitoring program for its Beechcraft King Air fleet.

The FAST (full flight data acquisition, storage and transmission) program is designed to gather and analyse full-flight data after each mission and provide situational awareness about engine health, usage and trends.

The data would support “predictive and preventative maintenance” on the King Air’s PT6A engines and help reduce costs, increase the availability of the fleet, Pratt & Whitney Canada said in a statement on Monday (US time).

“With the FAST solution we can now understand more about how our aircraft operate, be more efficient and provide a better experience for patients in the Australian outback,” said RFDS SE Section general manager of aviation and strategic development David Charlton said in a statement.

“We greatly value the opportunity to collaborate with P&WC because solutions like the FAST system help keep us at the forefront of safety and innovation in the Asia Pacific aeromedical sector.”

RFDS SE Section equipped three of its aircraft with FAST in April 2015 to support the certification of the technology for the Beechcraft King Air, Pratt & Whitney Canada said. FAST received final certification in May 2017, at which time another three aircraft RFDS SE Section aircraft had FAST added.

Pratt & Whitney Canada said there were plans for several more installations of the FAST solution in 2018.

“The FAST engine health management solution is ideally suited to the RFDS, a long-time P&WC customer that continues to raise the bar as an adopter of digital technologies to support their life-saving missions and enhance its operations,” , Pratt & Whitney Canada vice president for customer programs Tim Swail said.

“We are committed to delivering tailored, data-driven services to our customers that drive greater engine and aircraft availability, reduce costs, and help optimize their maintenance environment.”

The company said the FAST program, which is available for general aviation, regional airlines, business jets and helicopters, was currently capturing data for more than 2,000 Pratt & Whitney Canada engines.

It said recent improvements to FAST included propeller vibration trend monitoring for regional airline customers, enabling on-board event detection and crew alerts, turbine blade creep counting, and automated power assurance checks for helicopter operators.

RFDS SE Section operated 17 Beechcraft King Air aircraft, according to its website.

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