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Next Generation Airframe Structural Testing Equipment and Support Services

  • Sunday, 13th October 2002
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Honeywell will lead a team of industry experts to develop and market an automated system for the rapid inspection of the surface of an aircraft for corrosion or other structural anomalies.

It is claimed that the Structural Anomaly Mapping (SAM(TM)) technology can be used with military, commercial or business aviation aircraft.

“”SAM is capable of detecting and tracking subsurface defects such as composite delaminations, honeycomb damage, and metal corrosion on any type or class of aircraft,”” said Bernd Kessler, Vice President & General Manager, Honeywell Aviation Aftermarket Services. “”With the growing number of composite parts in aircraft and the aging of many aircraft fleets, early detection of these potential defects will greatly enhance aircraft safety. The use of SAM inspections for military or commercial aircraft will give the maintenance operations a database system for their aircraft fleet, ensuring that developing problems are detected and addressed sooner, helping reduce the time and cost of maintenance.””

SAM(TM) is a laser guided, computer controlled robotic platform about 6 feet wide by 9 feet long with a vertical mast and a horizontal extension that supports and positions acoustic and laser sensors. The sensors have the capability to “”see”” five inches into an aircraft structure.

SAM is designed to scan an entire aircraft in hours with no human interaction and without removing the aircraft from flight status. SAM will deliver a three dimensional digital visualization of the inspection. This visualization or picture can be quickly compared to previous inspections on the same aircraft or measurements on other aircraft in a fleet to identify any developing problems.

Traditional aircraft surface inspection methods or localized and manual x-ray/ultrasonic scans can often take days and require interpretation, which introduces variability. SAM positions itself with precision and security, does not require contact with the airframe and can scan the whole external structure or sections of it as required. With rapid, consistent, repeatable measures, and an easily accessible digital record of current and previous inspections, SAM can help improve aircraft dispatch reliability and safety.

Honeywell is working with BBA Diagnostics, LLC (BBAD) to develop and market SAM. BBAD is a joint venture between BBA Aviation Services Group and Advanced Power Technologies (APTI).

“”This agreement with Honeywell will accelerate the development of the SAM system, provide significant customer benefits and strengthen the aftermarket services business for both companies,”” said Bruce Van Allen, president and chief executive officer for BBA Aviation Services Group. “”Honeywell and BBA have a shared objective of providing innovative, cost-saving solutions in aviation services.””

Honeywell’s aerospace business has sales of $9 billion and is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. It is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.


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