Thursday 2 June 2011

Fuel level in helicopter!

Custom angled fuel level sensor designed for autonomous helicopter

Gill Sensors has developed a custom fuel level sensor for an autonomous helicopter, featuring a unique angled probe to address the installation constraints of the fuel tank and surrounding components.

The sensor utilises the same proven electronic platform and capacitive measurement technique as other Gill custom level sensors, with an innovative mounting arrangement to allow the sensor to be mounted through the side wall of the fuel tank. With the sensing probe mounted at 60º to the mounting flange, the sensor monitors the full depth of the tank below the mounting point, giving flight engineers accurate, repeatable fuel level information in real time.

As with most airborne applications, achieving a minimal sensor mass was critical to ensure the payload capability of the aircraft was not compromised. The final design and construction is compact and lightweight, with the full sensor weighing just 80g.

The sensor features fully integrated electronics and will operate from a supply voltage of 12-32V. A configurable analogue 0-5V output is provided accurate to 0.25%. With a high level of accuracy and repeatability, the sensor output can be used with a data look-up table to monitor the volume of irregular shaped tanks accurately – typically not possible with other types of level sensing technology.

The completed sensors were designed, manufactured and delivered in just six weeks. This angled sensor is one of many unmanned systems fuel and oil level sensors developed by Gill recently, and is an excellent example of the wide ranging design options that can be used to address the unique installation requirements of manned and unmanned aircraft.

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