There are “tens of thousands of aging military aircraft” flying with the world’s air forces and many of those aircraft are more than 25 years old, according to Rob McDonald, ASIS marketing director. “Many of these fleets are set to be still flying in 20 years or more, with some aircraft, such as the USAF KC-135 tankers, topping 80 years old before the last aircraft is withdrawn from service,” he said.
With military aircraft are working harder and longer, the task of managing their service life safely and cost efficiently is becoming ever more critical. This has prompted Ultra Electronics Controls to conceive the ASIS aircraft structural integrity system, providing an innovative approach to monitoring and maintaining them.
Midcoast Aviation has expanded its capability to assist aircraft operators at their home bases to supplement in-house maintenance staff. “We have been providing this select service to customers by request for years,” said Morris Smith, director of technical services. “Because operators have found the service so beneficial it just made sense to expand and let all our customers know mobile maintenance teams are available to come to them.
Wichita’s new National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), still under construction, is offering nondestructive testing (NDT) courses this fall. Through a cooperative effort between Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research and Wichita Area Technical College (WATC), NCAT will offer a series of 11 NDT courses at WATC’s Comotara Center campus.
The NTSB has issued a Safety Recommendation calling for the development of nondestructive testing techniques for Robinson main rotor blades after approximately 596 hours time-in-service to check for bond defects in areas between the skin and spar at the tip of the blade and between the skin and tip cap on all R22s and R44s.
NDT International has developed a smaller, less expensive way of providing C-scan images of bond flaws in composites and honeycomb structures. At just 1.5-lb, BonDetector is smaller than other bond analysis instruments, the manufacturer claims, and provides immediate visualization and interpretation of flawed areas.
British defense and security technology company Qinetiq is poised to complete the acquisition of Australian engineering group AeroStructures. The would-be subsidiary conducts engineering analysis and assessment of aircraft for structural integrity management and airframe life extension. It also carries out nondestructive testing, provides design and inspection services and trains aircraft engineers.
Epps Aviation, located at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, has been given Cessna authorized independent NDI facility certification. The authorization was granted after a review and on-site audit by Cessna representatives. It allows the company access to all of the equipment and materials needed to perform nondestructive testing on all Cessna Citations.
How much would it be worth to be able to reliably predict the structural failure of any part or component of an aircraft long before any flaw becomes visible? To be able to discover that there would be a structural failure in the top of a fuselage, in a vertical stabilizer or even in a landing gear before there was any visible indication such as a crack?
PrivateSky Aviation Services, Inc. (www. privatesky.net) of Fort Myers, Fla., has enhanced its NDT capability with the addition of a ComScan non-destructive testing scanning machine. The company is an FAA-certified Part 145 repair station specializing in Gulfstream IIs, IIIs, IVs and Vs.
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