Advanced science.  Applied technology.


Flight Test Technologies

Flight testing validates the design of aircraft and spacecraft, while ensuring that vehicles meet government and industry standards. Our software and systems engineers develop end-to-end solutions for the commercial aerospace industry, defense clients, and manufacturers of flight test instruments. As an independent, nonprofit solutions provider, SwRI vigorously protects the intellectual property of our clients and promotes best practices and standards in industries we serve.

Technology Offerings

Aeronautical Telemetry Services

Aeronautical telemetry uses networks to transmit data from aircraft, satellites, and spacecraft to ground equipment. SwRI develops solutions that gather telemetry data through integrated networks, processors, and subsystems for commercial aircraft flight testing systems. SwRI utilizes Internet Protocol (IP) to build better flight test systems with bandwidth to satisfy increasing telemetry data rate demands.

Flight Test Software

We develop software and network-based solutions around high performance embedded processors and flexible configuration used in flight tests for commercial aircraft. We develop software for custom hardware and integrate IP and network technology in legacy systems to provide the following solutions:

  • Data acquisition
  • Recording
  • Management
  • Data processing

SwRI’s network-based, flight test solutions have included the following features:

  • Ethernet - 10/100/1000 copper fiber
  • Internet Protocol (IP) Multicast
  • High throughput (gigabit Ethernet speeds)
  • Low latency
  • Precision Time Protocol (PTP) - IEEE 1588 (sub-microsecond network-wide time synchronization)
  • Telemetry
  • Embedded software
  • Consolidated system management using Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
  • Combination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and custom hardware

Integrated Network Enhanced Telemetry (iNET)

As the lead systems integrator for the iNET program, SwRI leads development of iNET standards, and we have developed reference applications, integrated and tested initial systems, and supported flight tests. SwRI also provides consulting and development support to companies looking to leverage iNET standards and technologies.

Flight Test Interoperability (DARPA BRASS)

SwRI is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to apply iNET flight test interoperability research to software systems in the C4ISR/EW VICTORY program using DARPA’s Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems (BRASS) framework.

Constraints Technologies

Constraints help define configuration limits for flight test systems. When embedded in system code, constraints can be difficult and costly to update if modifications are needed. SwRI overcomes these challenges with flexible technologies that enable automatic discovery of constraints. We also develop editing tools using integrated development environments (IDE) and user interfaces for XML-based systems, and we offer training to help clients implement the latest constraints technologies.

MDL-Related Support Tools

As network technologies such as iNET advance, telemetry equipment manufacturers are looking to incorporate measurement description language (MDL) into their products. MDL supports a broad array of devices, but creating a working configuration file can be complex. SwRI offers open software tools to help clients generate MDL files, translate MDL schema, and develop XPath constraints files. SwRI also provides translator tools and support to help transition to the official MDL version IRIG 106-17 Chapter 23. These tools provide a solution to migrate legacy systems to the official MDL version.

Computational Optimization

To help address throughput and latency delivery requirements of new flight test hardware, SwRI developed a framework that creates delivery networks on existing network backbones. We use virtual network fabric devices such as routers and switches to provide end-to-end control mechanisms.

Standards Compliance & Performance Testing

We have developed several network standards and created shareable frameworks of software so vendors can build their own specific equipment to comply with these standards. Features include:

  • Improved interoperability between equipment from multiple vendors
  • Faster system development
  • Reduced system development costs

SwRI also has extensive experience in developing components and standards that can work with challenging security requirements and constraints.