ORLANDO--Airbus plans to release an advanced drone for inspecting aircraft inside a hangar. The drone system is designed to cut the time required for typical aircraft inspections, often performed visually, from one day to three hours.
Airbus has demonstrated the drone-based inspection system to some airlines and plans to make it available to the industry in the fourth quarter of this year, pending European Aviation Safety Agency’s approval of the process.
The drone system--which includes an integral camera, obstacle detection sensor, flight planning software and Airbus’ inspection analysis software—is ideally suited for inspecting the top of fuselages, which typically require a platform to access this hard-to-reach area.
Airbus developed the drone with its Testia subsidiary that specializes in non-destructive testing.
This inspection drone is part of Airbus’ Hangar of the Future project, which seeks to develop more efficient ways to perform maintenance—from automatic inspection and data collection, such as is done with the drone, to wearable devices and Internet of Things connectivity.