|UAV inspecting an Airbus A330. Photo: Airbus
[Avionics Magazine 07-14-2016] Airbus has demonstrated aircraft visual inspection using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow taking place in England this week. The drone, equipped with a high definition camera, performed visual inspection for the upper part of the aircraft. It was flown using an automatic flight control system supervised by a human pilot.
The UAV followed a predetermined flight path and took a series of pictures automatically. All these images and especially those showing any potential non-quality such as scratches, dents and painting defects, were compiled in a 3-D digital model, recorded in a database and then analyzed. The data helps improve traceability, prevention and reduction of damage, according to Airbus.
The tool aims to reduce aircraft downtime for inspection, as data acquisition by UAV only takes 10 to 15 minutes, instead of two hours using conventional methods.
Airbus is conducting a full-scale industrial test of the technology on the A330.