Low Cost, Automated, RTCA/DO-213 Compliant - Radome Test System
Author: John Wilber
The commercial aviation industry faces several issues in regard to servicing and maintaining the radomes that abound in the aircraft fleet flying today. The first issue is the historically high cost of radome test systems. As a result of this, there are limited numbers of test systems in operation today and some geographic regions have insufficient radome test capacity. Advances in weather radar and increased reliance on them for turbulence avoidance and more efficient route planning around storm systems will increase the importance of ensuring that weather radar systems are performing well and consequently that weather radar radomes are in good condition and have been adequately tested. Because of the potential consequence of flying with a bad radome and the demands of new radar systems, its more important than ever to ensure test systems in use adhere to requirements and to spread awareness of these challenges within the aviation community.
Recently, a design effort was conducted specifically geared towards developing a system concept for radome testing that would both provide a robust test capability that fully meets the RTCA-DO-213 after repair test requirements and one that is much lower in cost than traditional systems that are fielded today. This paper describes the issues cited above and provides a description of the low cost - compliant solution