A Shorter Aircraft Testing Process?

Top officials at Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee expect training in a process called Design of Experiments to enable the Air Force to shorten its new aircraft testing cycle. AEDC put 18 engineers from different disciplines through a battery of DOE training courses this summer to certify them in the technique. Next up will be real-life applications, according to Bill Peters, AEDC’s DOE implementation team leader. “We are looking for a wide variety of projects to use this technique,” said Peters. Among applications being considered are instrumentation calibrations, maintenance scheduling options software test certification, and instrumentation and control systems validation. The current method employed in aerospace testing is called OFAT, for “one factor at a time,” which “takes a long time to test all the variables,” explained Peters. The DOE technique, which is used in a variety of fields, centers on development of an “optimized test matrix” that, Peters believe, “could significantly reduce the amount of testing and therefore shorten the amount of time to develop an aircraft.” (AEDC report by Janae Daniels)