Aerospace Event 2018

Along with some of my colleagues, I attended the Aerospace Event, which was held at the BAWA Centre in Bristol, UK, in April 2018, an event that continues to grow with increasing numbers of exhibitors and delegates. One of my colleagues, Patrick Boulton, was previously employed to perform on-wing non-destructive testing (NDT) inspections on a range of commercial aircraft. The Additive Manufacturing (AM) for Aerospace one-day workshop concluded with a visit to the Aerospace Bristol museum. One of the delegates had relatives who were employed in Bristol aircraft manufacturing many years ago, resulting in many interesting stories being recounted. A Rolls-Royce delegate took over the guide duties on one of the engine exhibits, explaining why the engine has a rubber tip on it (to prevent ice build-up). Other manufacturers use more complex, expensive and heavier methods, including heating elements.

Now, back to Patrick. The final part of the tour involved Concorde, which Patrick had spent many hours inspecting, and he recalled the specific nuances of the aircraft and the inspections used, which added to the experience.

The programme over the next two days covered a range of presentations, including the practical requirements of in-field aircraft inspections presented by Graham McCully, who demonstrated his years of experience and the challenges he has met and overcome. The use of computed tomography (CT) and additive layer manufacturing provided the topic for presentations and the Renault Sport Formula One Team also presented. The material and inspection requirements used in both aerospace and Formula One are not that different, except in Formula One the pace of change and innovation is extremely rapid as fractions of a second can influence the final result.

In one presentation, an apprentice, Theo Vincent, discussed his ongoing experience as an apprentice at Rolls-Royce with great enthusiasm and knowledge. Bruce Drinkwater gave a presentation on tractor beam/ultrasonic tweezers, which included a slide showing his name in a story that was published by Marvel Comics as a result of this invention. Incidentally, The Times newspaper then published an article on Friday 13 April, titled: ‘Laser tweezers build molecule atom by atom’, which discussed some of the aspects of Bruce’s presentation. The whole event was a great success and will be repeated in two years’ time at the same venue.

Request for input from your Practitioners’ Group
There is an NDT Practitioners’ Group, which is not a BINDT group but feeds back into BINDT, and any practitioner is welcome to be part of it. The Chair, Joe Heigold, can be contacted via myself at the email below. At the last meeting, one of the topics discussed was professional indemnity insurance, as the group is looking to help with negotiating discounts with suitable providers. I would like to find out the companies are being used, whether you are able to recommend them in terms of cost, cover and claims history and any other experiences, both good and bad. If you can send me any details of companies that you are using or have used with contact details and your recommendations, we can then compile a list, ask for discounts on the products and post this list on the website and in NDT News, as appropriate.

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