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Aircraft Electrical Malfunction The electrical

The electrical systems of modern airplanes are very complex. Most contain numerous electrical installations. Moreover, the use of electric power in aviation will only become more widespread. Engineers are currently looking for ways to use electricity to drive aviation subsystems previously powered by other means (e.g., mechanical or hydraulic power). Obviously, airplane electrical systems must be highly reliable and fault tolerant. Most aircraft electrical failures result from interconnection breakdowns. Such malfunctions can affect numerous aircraft subsystems. For example, a connector problem could result in the complete failure of an airplane's avionics system.

As part of a contract awarded by the Air Force in 1989, Failure Analysis Associates conducted a survey of data on failures of aircraft electronic and electrical components. The purpose of the survey was to identify problematic components. It concluded that "problems with interconnections are major contributors to aircraft electrical equipment failures (Galler & Slenski 3-7)." In addition, environmental factors, such as corrosion, may significantly contribute to wiring and connector failure. Fortunately, recent technological progress has made modern aircraft much less vulnerable.

Modern aircraft employ a variety of electronic innovations. For example, components employed on the Boeing 777 include integrated computing architecture and the advanced ARINC 629 communication bus. Such systems greatly simplify airplane electrical systems. Moreover, through the application of computer technologies, the technical performance of aircraft components can be continuously monitored.

The Boeing 777 is a large twin-engine jet transport aircraft which is designed for regional and longer range operations. It's electrical system represents a "response to market demands for superior performance and reliability (Andrade & Tenning 4-11)." The system was design...

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