When Pratt & Whitney debuted its seminal R-1340 Wasp engine in 1925, there was plenty to be anxious about. The engine marked the fledgling company’s first foray into the aviation industry. It featured a radical but unproven new crankshaft and master rod design aimed at generating greater thrust while keeping weight to a comparably low 650 pounds. But with all this, there was one thing that probably didn’t weigh too heavily on anyone’s mind: What to do with the tremendous volume of data generated by the Wasp, or more accurately, the lack thereof.
While telemetry has always played a pivotal role in aviation, the volume of data it used to collect was relatively small. The original Wasp had gauges for things like horsepower and fuel level, but not a whole lot more. Fast forward 75 years to the PW6000 and the beginnings of a more data-driven future start to take form, with a little fewer than 100 sensors deployed on each engine. Go just a little further to the Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engine and it becomes clear that a paradigm shift is underway.
The GTF engine incorporates 40 percent more sensors than the V2500® engine, and can generate approximately 4 million data points per engine per flight, enabling significant improvements in addressing unplanned maintenance.
That amount of telemetry would have overwhelmed the engineers and operators of the original Wasp, but today, a host of powerful analytics solutions enable stakeholders to effectively manage and leverage data to optimize operations and drive smarter decision making.
Pratt & Whitney introduced their EngineWise™ services brand in 2017. Under the EngineWise portfolio, Pratt & Whitney is investing in data acquisition and predictive analytics tools that enable both operators and Pratt & Whitney to make recommendations that reduce operational disruptions and increase engine availability. Pratt & Whitney’s ADEM™ (Advanced Diagnostics and Engine Monitoring) service and eFAST™ (enhanced flight data acquisition, storage and transmission) ecosystem are two examples of capabilities and investment under our EngineWise portfolio of services.
ADEM is an engine health management service that employes a suite of web-enabled software tools that provide expert analysis of engine health data for more than 8,000 engines in service. The eFAST ecosystem is enabling Pratt & Whitney’s next generation engine health management capabilities and includes a highly secured acquisition, storage and transmission infrastructure that is capable of accessing and recording aircraft and engine full-flight data, generating reports based on recorded data and offloading data and reports to a remote ground station. Together, these tools not only ensure the speedy delivery of vast datasets from the air to the ground, but also enable airlines to crunch numbers at a scale previously unimaginable.
Through EngineWise, Pratt & Whitney is focused on enhancing the customer experience with their products. The company is excited to see how their digital technologies investment and capability enhancements are producing real results today and look forward to working with their customers to develop solutions tailored to their needs.