Most training missions seem routine, but nothing is routine when a pilot pushes a U.S. Army Apache combat helicopter to its maximum limits. With a top cruising speed of nearly 200 mph and a vertical climb rate of well over 2,500 feet per minute, a pilot must have complete confidence in the aircraft. That security is based on a well-informed ground crew who uses real-time diagnostic sensors to monitor the operating conditions of the chopper's drivetrain.
This innovative approach to aerospace safety was launched at USC in the 1990s, when our researchers understood that helicopters should be serviced based on need rather than a set schedule. They were right. Now, condition-based maintenance is a vital part of keeping the military's helicopter fleet in good condition - reducing costs, ensuring top performance and, more importantly, saving lives. Building on that innovation, the USC McNair Center serves as a bridge between the university and the aerospace industry to bring technological developments to the commercial arena.