Review of Practices to Integrate Aircraft Mass Properties Management and Development Processes
Keywords:Systems engineering, Product development, Mass properties
AbstractThe mass properties of aircraft directly influence their performance and costs, and are particularly subject to high uncertainties in the early phases of the development process. As aircraft systems become more detailed, their mass properties are iteratively updated. Those updates, in turn, may lead to rework on aircraft systems. To avoid excessive iterations, aircraft manufacturers employ the mass properties management (MPM) process during their development processes. However, even when this approach is adopted, the continuous cycle of increasing weight and redesigning aircraft structures represents a significant challenge, which may lead to the cancellation of programs. One of the causes of this problem is the inefficient integration between MPM and the aircraft development process. We propose a concept to significantly enhance the integration between MPM and aircraft development processes, suggesting feasible practices to support its implementation. The research methodology combines a review of the literature, an exploratory case study, a three-year longitudinal case study, and verification by experts. The results describe a concept for integrating aircraft MPM and development, supported by 16 practices. They also include a characterization of the MPM process based on literature and practices, which lists 17 characteristics divided into four categories: Goals/Strategy, Activities/Information, Resources/Tools, and Organization/Roles and Responsibilities.
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