[8A4] Review of non-contact methods for automated aircraft inspections

Pasquale Lafiosca and Dr Ip-Shing Fan
Cranfield University, UK 

Damages on the aircraft structure are frequent because of lightning strikes, hail, accidental impacts or senescence. General Visual Inspection (GVI) is the first way to detect such damages. The inspection process is time-consuming, raises safety concerns for the inspector and reliability issues due to human factors. In fact a significant automation here is still hesitant, mainly because the task of GVI requires critical ability and has no exactly defined parameters. Despite several tools are already available for periodic checks, none of them is already capable to replace the inspector judgement in considering different conditions, materials and overall characteristics of a damage. This review illustrates the main technologies suitable for a non-contact visual inspection, explaining their basic working principles and limitations to better direct further automation into the field.