Airbus is demonstrating a drone-based maintenance tool
at MRO Americas.
Advanced Inspection Drone, designed for use inside a hangar,
accelerates and facilitates visual checks, considerably reducing
aircraft downtime and increasing the quality of inspection
Combining Airbus’ extensive aircraft knowledge with
best-in-class drone technology, this new product consists of a
smart, automatic drone with an integral visual camera, a
laser-based obstacle detection sensor, flight planner software and
Airbus’ aircraft inspection software analysis tool.
in co-operation with Airbus’ subsidiary Testia which specialises
in non-destructive testing, this drone-based aircraft inspection
system is optimised for inspecting the upper parts of the aircraft
Following a predefined inspection path, the automated
drone captures all the required images with its on-board camera.
High quality pictures are then transferred to a PC database for
detailed analysis using a software system. This allows the
operator to localise and measure visual damage on the aircraft’s
surface by comparing it with the aircraft’s digital mock-up. The
software automatically generates an inspection report.
system will be available for the industry in the fourth quarter of
2018 following EASA approval of the new inspection process.
Since it is designed for use inside maintenance
hangars, the drone is equipped with a laser-based sensor capable
of detecting obstacles and halting the inspection if necessary.
This laser-based technology allows the vehicle to fly
automatically without the need for remote piloting.
to the new drone-based system will enable operators and MRO
providers to reduce inspection time, allow the aircraft to be
released earlier while enhancing the overall quality of the
reports, improving damage localisation, repeatability and
The new inspection process will take only three
hours, including 30 minutes of image capture by the drone, and
will improve operator safety. By contrast, traditional aircraft
visual inspection is performed from the ground or using a
telescopic platform, in particular for the upper parts of the
aircraft – a process which could typically last up to one day.
MRO Americas is taking place in Orlando, Florida
from 10-12 April 2018.