IEEE Electrification Magazine - December 2017 - 45

and diagnostic algorithms that monitor the health of the
actuation system.
Finally, with digital controllers, synchronized motion
control is possible. This can provide significant weight savings in applications such as conventional flap systems,
where all of the flap panels are mechanically coupled
through transmission components (e.g., ball screws, gear
boxes, and torque tubes). Conversely, electronically synchronizing each of the flap actuators eliminates a significant
portion of the mechanical transmission. Electronic synchronization also reduces the installation time required by eliminating the need to rig each actuator mechanically, which
reduces production costs.

Summary
Incumbent hydraulic actuation technology is mature, reliable, and simple, with low material and development costs,
but electrification of aircraft actuation systems is an
enabling technology for future aircraft that promises higher
availability, lower system weight, and lower operating costs
overall. There is a long-term opportunity for organizations
that develop the technology needed to support the MEA.
Although there are challenges as aircraft transition
from conventional to the MEA to the AEA, the need for
electrical power generation, distribution, and consumption
will steadily grow. The MEA will eventually eliminate centralized hydraulic systems that use engine driven pumps
in favor of electrical power generation only. The AEA, if
increased battery power density reaches a critical point,
could use electrical energy directly from stored sources to
power the entire vehicle. In the short term, however, electrical power generation and distribution do not necessarily
mean the total elimination of hydraulic actuation. Instead,
EHAs and remote hydraulic power packs (e.g., electric
motor driven pumps, accumulators, and distribution manifolds) powering conventional hydraulic actuators will
allow their use to continue in the challenging applications
highlighted in this article.
Using a multidisciplinary engineering approach will be
necessary to design actuators capable of meeting the system requirements when powered from electrical power
sources. This will include designs that combine electric
machines, power electronics, mechanical transmisions,
and control electronics hardware/software. EMA will need
to meet or exceed the benefits of hydraulic actuation,
including safe failure modes and power/force density. As
creative EMA design solutions are realized, the entire aircraft actuation system can be electrically powered, which
will allow for smaller, lighter, more intelligent systems.

For Further Reading
S. Loff. (2016, June 17). NASA's X-57 electric research plane,
NASA. [Online]. Available: https://www.nasa.gov/image-fea
ture/nasas-x-57-electric-research-plane
M. Aubert. (2017). Airbus E-Fan: The future of electric aircraft. Airbus. [Online]. Available: http://company.airbus.com/
responsibility/airbus-e-fan-the-future-of-electric-aircraft.html

C. Bowman, R. Jansen, and A. Jankovsky, "Turbo-electric
and hybrid electric propulsion technologies for commercial
transport aircraft," in Proc. More Electric Aircraft Conf., 2016, p. 6.
E. Adams. (2017, May 31). The age of electric aviation is just
30 years away. Wired. [Online]. Available: https://www.wired
.com/2017/05/electric-airplanes-2/
M. Sinnett. (2007). 787 no-bleed systems: Saving fuel and
enhancing operational efficiencies. Aero Quarterly. [Online].
pp. 1-11. Available: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/
aeromagazine/articles/qtr_4_07/AERO_Q407_article2.pdf
FAA. (2012a). Hydraulic and pneumatic power systems. Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook-Airframe, vol. 2. [Online].
Available: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_airframe_handbook/media/ama_
Ch12.pdf
SAE. (2015). 75th year of SAE A-6: A history of aviation
actuation, control and fluid power. Society of Automotive
Engineers, Warrendale, PA. [Online]. Available: https://www
.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&c
ad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwifhIiHkpLVAhUV32MKHZl3Dm
QQFggiMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sae.org%2Fworks%2
FcommitteeResources.do%3FresourceID%3D482181&usg=AF
QjCNEW0pqcwmNlCTjTuIK0d9zAXHuXGA
D. P. Rubertus, L. D. Hunter, and G. J. Cecere, "Electromechanical actuation technology for the all-electric aircraft," IEEE Trans.
Aerosp. Electron. Syst., vol. AES-20, no. 3, pp. 243-249, 1984.
D. van den Bossche, "The A380 flight control electrohydrostatic actuators, achievements and lessons learnt," in Proc.
25th Int. Congr. Aeronautical Sciences, 2006, pp. 3-7.
W. J. Norton, "Advanced electromechanical actuation system (EMAS) flight test," Air Force Wright Aeronautical Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, Rep. AD-A176 148, 1986.
S. C. Jensen, G. D. Jenney, D. Dawson. (2000). Flight test
experience with an electromechanical actuator on the F-18
systems research aircraft. NASA. Washington, D.C. [Online].
Available: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/pdf/88699main_
H-2425.pdf
D. Luculescu and P. Prisacariu, "Kinematics of the landing
gear systems of aircraft," Sci. Res. Educ. Air Force-AFASES, vol.
2, pp. 425-428, May 2015.
FAA. (2012b). Aircraft landing gear systems. In Aviation
Maintenance Technician Handbook-Airframe, vol. 2. [Online].
Available: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/
handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_airframe_handbook/
media/ama_Ch13.pdf
Safran. (2017). Extension/retraction system. Safran Landing
Systems. [Online]. Available: https://www.safran-landingsystems.com/systems-equipment/extension/retraction-system
Liebherr-Aerospace. (2017). Landing gear systems. Liebherr.
[Online]. Available: https://www.liebherr.com/en/are/products/
aerospace-and-transportation-systems/aerospace/productsand-solutions/landing-gear-systems/landing-gear-systems
.html#lightbox
Florian. (2013). Recent advances and future electrical landing
gear systems. ICAS Workshop-Cape Town. [Online]. Available:
http://www.icas.org/media/pdf/Workshops/2013/ICAS%20%20Recent%20Advances%20and%20Future%20Electrical%20
Landing%20Gear%20Systems%20Publish.pdf
J. Fernandes. (2010, Oct. 4). Airbus A340 600 rejected take off
test flight. YouTube. [Online]. Available: https://www.youtube
.com/watch?v=lUMuOyMTQ8Y

Biography
Nick Nagel (njnagel@triumphgroup.com) is with Triumph
Aerospace Systems-Seattle, Washington.

IEEE Elec trific ation Magazine / D EC EM BE R 2 0 1 7

45


https://www.wired http://www.boeing.com/commercial/ https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/hand https://www http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&c https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/pdf/88699main_ https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/ https://www.safran-landing http://www.systems.com/systems-equipment/extension/retraction-system https://www.liebherr.com/en/are/products/ http://www.icas.org/media/pdf/Workshops/2013/ICAS https://www.youtube https://www.nasa.gov/image-fea http://company.airbus.com/

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