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Basics And Features Of Electronic Data Management Systems
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A modern day aircraft is full of strategically placed sensors that relay data in real-time to the cockpit. With the increase in the number of sensors as well as information being relayed to the cockpit, there is an overflow of information and from this, arose the need to quickly analyse, prioritise and display vital information in a manner that makes instant sense to the pilots. Thus the need for aircraft Electronic Data Management Systems (or EDM's for short).
Aircraft manufactured 30 years back had a few sensors that were mostly clustered around the engine(s). Now apart from sensors being placed in the usual locations i.e. the engines; there are sensors attached to the wheel lift, cargo door, sensors that read cargo bay pressure and passenger cabin pressure. Additionally, there are fire sensors placed in all likely places. Each of these sensors is connected to display unit in the cockpit.
Now imagine if these sensors were connected to individual display units. There would be dozens of indicator lights and dials. It would be impossible for the pilots to monitor them all and in the process, they might (say) miss a dial that seems to indicate excessive heat in cargo bay or perhaps a fire?
The basics of an aircraft Electronic Data Management System or EDM therefore is to:
1. Accept all incoming information
2. Route the information to the appropriate display unit or appropriate part of a display unit in the cockpit.
3. Monitor all incoming information and compare them to preset values.
4. Store (save) all information on onboard memory banks.
From this we note that cables connected to the sensors are first routed to the aircraft RPM Sensor which essentially acts like a traffic controller and storage.
The features of an aircraft Electronic Data Management System will vary from EDM to EDM depending on the level of sophistication of the EDM model. A good Aircraft Gauge System like the ones manufactured by J.P. Instruments, include these features:
1. Accept pilot input via on-screen keyboard to preset the upper and lower values for various sensors.
2. Allow pilot to control how the information is displayed.
3. Automatically prioritise information that is critical.
4. Provide Ultra-high-speed data analysis.
5. Ensure a high level of accuracy in all calculations and analysis.
6. Compare preset values with real-time values and flag off any real-time values that appear to not be in conformity with the preset value range.
7. Activate audio and visual clues for critical values that are not be in conformity with the preset value range.
8. Save all data to on board memory banks.
9. Be impervious to vibrations, shocks and power fluctuations and,
10. Provide a data retrieval port.
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