IAF system keeps everything THUMS up for helicopters

Sophisticated system of sensors can tell in real time "when even one tooth on a cog has started to chip."

October 8, 2007 23:42
1 minute read.
AJ pic 2

IDF chopper 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Israel Air Force has developed a unique system to monitor its helicopters while in flight. The system, called THUMS (Total Health and Usage Monitoring System), keeps track of all the moving parts of the helicopter while it is out on missions. A sophisticated system of sensors "can tell when even one tooth on a cog has started to chip and can pinpoint exactly where the problem is," head of the project Lt.-Col. Ephraim Rabinovitch of the Tel Nof air force base explained to The Jerusalem Post on Monday. THUMS is designed to prevent accidents even before they happen. If the system notices a problem, it sends a warning signal to the pilot, who can then land in a controlled manner, rather than having to make an emergency landing when the problem spins out of control and causes drastic damage to the helicopter. Once the helicopter is back on the ground, a technician equipped with a laptop can download the data and examine exactly what the problem is and where it is located. The system's sensors penetrate deep into the inner workings of the helicopter's engines, which return data on parts not readily accessible. "Narrowing the problem to a specific part saves a lot of time and money instead of having to dismantle the engine and check everything by hand," Maj. Avi Zdroyevsky said. The system is not yet fully operational. "Right now, THUMS has been installed on 15 helicopters and is mainly in the calibration stage. We hope to install it on all of the IAF's helicopters in the near future and our next challenge is to figure out how to adapt it to the airplanes as well," Rabinovitch added during a presentation at the base. The IAF considered several foreign-made systems but decided that they didn't really meet its requirements and so turned to an Israeli company, RSL, to develop the system in conjunction with the air force. "Because the company is here and we are here, the system is tailor-made for us [something the other systems couldn't offer]," Rabinovich said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town