All aircraft undergo quality inspections before delivery. The fuselage has to be checked visually for any faults such as dents or scratches. This usually requires two inspectors, a telescopic handler and an average of two hours.
In order to improve on this process, Airbus has been testing the use of a drone for the past few months: the machine follows a predetermined path and takes 150 pictures with its high definition camera. With this procedure, the quality inspection only takes ten minutes.
Ronie Gnecco, Innovation Manager for UAV Development & Applications – Airbus: watch the interview in the video.
The quality inspector’s job is made much easier thanks to a database that contains all the possible types of fault.
Currently on trial with the A330, this type of inspection will be used on all Airbus aircraft assembled in Europe. Quality inspectors will therefore become drone operators too. You do have to keep up with the times!