NVision Helps Aircraft Repair Station Quickly Obtain FAA Approval
(Coppell, TX; December 2014) - 3D laser scanning from NVision helped a certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repair station document its work on a passenger jet part with such precision that the station was able to obtain the necessary FAA approval for the repair in much less time than is usually required.
Due to the stress and strain of normal usage, the aircraft component – part of a key system - will eventually require repair after a certain number of hours. By law, the FAA must approve any modification or repair made to an aircraft component in order to ensure it doesn’t degrade the structural integrity of the part, which could impair its performance and jeopardize the safety of passengers and crew.
Image left: The aircraft part after removal of the corrosion
The station, which specializes in the repair and overhaul of aerospace components and systems, needed to first remove corrosion from the part in order to make necessary repairs prior to reassembling the system. However, before commencing the repairs, they developed a plan knowing they would need to submit a report for FAA approval showing exactly how much metal was removed in the corroded areas. Verifiable accuracy was paramount to the process.
The station brought the part to NVision, a leader in 3D laser scanning and reverse engineering for over 25 years, so NVision engineers could 3D map its exact geometry both before and after the corrosion was removed. The station had worked with NVision on other projects and knew they would be the right company to assist them.
NVision has a wide range of 3D scanning systems available for aviation work, with ultra-high accuracies starting as precise as .0002”. For this project they utilized the HandHeld 3D laser scanner, which is very accurate and capable of capturing 60,000 separate measurements per second. The HandHeld Scanner is highly versatile and quickly obtains dimensions from objects of almost any size or shape.
FAA inspection report - this color deviation report shows the variation between the scan of the part with corrosion and the scan of the part with the corrosion removed
Using the HandHeld Scanner, it took NVision technicians about 1/2 a day to scan the part before corrosion was removed and another 1/2 day to scan it after the removal of the defects. NVision then created an inspection report, with color deviation chart, precisely documenting the exact amount and location of any corrosion and associated metal that had been removed from the part. The report was reviewed and approved by the FAA.
In another application, the repair station had to urgently repair a faulty bracket on a 737 passenger jet, which had created an Aircraft on Ground, or AOG, situation. In the aviation industry, an AOG arises when a problem – for example, a worn, defective, or missing part - is serious enough to prohibit an aircraft from flying. Due to the time, expense and inconvenience involved in grounding an aircraft, resolving an AOG quickly is a top priority.
The repair station needed make a new bracket as soon as possible and again contacted NVision. The station technician delivered the bracket to NVision at 1 p.m. and was able to return the next morning at 10 a.m. to receive a completed 3D CAD model of the part. This 3D model was imported into a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) system to generate a milling path. A replacement bracket was quickly made on a CNC machine and installed, allowing the 737 to fly again.
“We’re very pleased that the precision and accuracy of our 3D scanning helped facilitate FAA approval of the repair station’s work. This is a powerful demonstration of 3D scanning’s potential to positively impact the aviation repair industry to the additional benefit of the airlines and the flying public,” says Steve Kersen, NVision’s VP of Sales and Marketing.
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