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Early Detection of C-130 Aircraft Engine Malfunction by Principal Component Analysis of the Wear Metals in C-130 Engine Oil

Volume 43, Number 2 (Feb. 1989) Page 202-208

Hancock, Darrell O.; Synovec, Robert E.


Spectrophotometric analysis of engine oil for wear metal to detect engine malfunctions and failing engine components is the basis of the United States Air Force Spectrophotometric Oil Analysis Program (SOAP). This program was abandoned for C-130 transport aircraft because of difficulties in correlating the atomic emission spectroscopy data with engine problems. Principal component analysis (PCA), a factor analysis method, reveals information and structure not previously apparent in the C-130 oil analysis data. These results suggest that the C-130 SOAP program could be made viable with the significant advantages obtained through incorporation of PCA.