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Improving aircraft composite inspections using optimized reference standards

Description: The rapidly increasing use of composites on commercial airplanes coupled with the potential for economic savings associated with their use in aircraft structures means that the demand for composite materials technology will continue to increase. Inspecting these composite structures is a critical element in assuring this continued airworthiness. The FAA`s Airworthiness Assurance NDI Validation Center, in conjunction with the Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair committee, is developing a set of composite reference standards to be used in NDT equipment calibration for accomplishment of damage assessment and post-repair inspection of all commercial aircraft composites. In this program, a series of NDI tests on a matrix of composite aircraft structures and prototype reference standards were completed in order to minimize the number of standards needed to carry out composite inspections on aircraft. Two tasks, related to composite laminates and non-metallic composite honeycomb configurations, were addressed.
Date: October 1, 1998
Creator: Roach, D.; Dorrell, L.; Kollgaard, J. & Dreher, T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Experimental flight test vibration measurements and nondestructive inspection on a USCG HC-130H aircraft

Description: This paper presents results of experimental flight test vibration measurements and structural inspections performed by the Federal Aviation Administration`s Airworthiness Assurance NDI Validation Center (AANC) at Sandia National Laboratories and the US Coast Guard Aircraft Repair and Supply Center (ARSC). Structural and aerodynamic changes induced by mounting a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system on a USCG HC-130H aircraft are described. The FLIR adversely affected the air flow characteristics and structural vibration on the external skin of the aircraft`s right main wheel well fairing. Upon initial discovery of skin cracking and visual observation of skin vibration in flight by the FLIR, a baseline flight without the FLIR was conducted and compared to other measurements with the FLIR installed. Nondestructive inspection procedures were developed to detect cracks in the skin and supporting structural elements and document the initial structural condition of the aircraft. Inspection results and flight test vibration data revealed that the FLIR created higher than expected flight loading and was the possible source of the skin cracking. The Coast Guard performed significant structural repair and enhancement on this aircraft, and additional in-flight vibration measurements were collected on the strengthened area both with and without the FLIR installed. After three months of further operational FLIR usage, the new aircraft skin with the enhanced structural modification was reinspected and found to be free of flaws. Additional US Coast Guard HC-130H aircraft are now being similarly modified to accommodate this FLIR system. Measurements of in-flight vibration levels with and without the FLIR installed, and both before and after the structural enhancement and repair were conducted on the skin and supporting structure in the aircraft`s right main wheel fairing. Inspection results and techniques developed to verify the aircraft`s structural integrity are discussed.
Date: August 1, 1998
Creator: Moore, D.G.; Jones, C.R.; Mihelic, J.E. & Barnes, J.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department