Orlando - In most cases, drones are considered dangerous to commercial aircraft. But in some cases, they can also be useful to aircraft manufacturers and operators.
On April 10th, Airbus has demonstrated its drone-based inspection system to some airlines at MRO Americas in Orlando held by Aviation Week from 10 to 12 April.
With this new technology, Airbus aims to accelerate and facilitate visual checks, while remarkably diminishing aircraft downtime and improving the quality of inspection process.
Airbus’ Advanced Inspection Drone, which includes an integral camera, obstacle detection sensor, flight planning software and Airbus’ inspection analysis software, is perfectly fitted for inspecting the top of fuselages that are requiring a platform to access this hard-to-reach area.
During the inspection process, the automated drone captures high-quality images of the plane's body and then transfer them to a PC database for detailed analysis using a software system.
It allows the operator to spot damaged sections on the aircraft’s surface by comparing it with the aircraft’s digital mock-up. At the end of the inspection process, the software automatically generates an inspection report.
Advanced Inspection Drone is part of Airbus’ "Hangar of the Future project," which aims to explore more efficient ways to perform maintenance via automated inspection and data collection.
Airbus plans to offer the new system for the use of the industry in the fourth quarter of 2018 following the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) approval.