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Ukraine International Airlines uses drone-based scanning for aircraft inspections

Ukraine International Airlines uses drone-based scanning for aircraft inspections
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Written by Harry S. Johnson

Ukrainian MRO company MAUtechnic, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) and Luftronix, Inc have jointly conducted drone-based scans of UIA’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft in Kyiv. All scans were conducted using Luftronix’s custom-built drones with high-precision navigation systems and high-quality scanning equipment, and the Luftronix Orchestrator software for scan planning, flight operations and data analysis.

“Our focus is always on the quality of our maintenance, safety of passengers and flawless operation of all aircraft systems,” says Volodymyr Polishchuk, Quality Assurance Manager at MAUtechnic. He added, “it was encouraging to see the Luftronix team sharing the same values and perspectives.”

The scans guarantee a consistent surface resolution and the equipment automatically measures the distance from the surface and curvature of the object to allow for precise on-screen measurements of any artifact. This allows inspectors to assess immediately whether the artifacts are within specifications prescribed in the aircraft maintenance and structural repair manuals. In addition, scans are archived for comparisons over time enabling a monitoring practice for any artifact that requires repeated attention.

Luftronix’s drones carry multiple fall-back systems to ensure no single equipment failure can create a fatal in-flight incident. Any critical instrument has built-in redundancies. In addition, the autonomously operating drones have built-in emergency operations for known safety-relevant scenarios and can recover from unexpected events, for example foreign objects moving into the flight path, ladders or ropes appearing where they were not expected, or even other drones interfering.

“After years of working day and night to ensure safety and precision of our scanning equipment, we see our cooperation with MAUtechnic and UIA as a major milestone in introducing our technology to the aviation industry,” says Klaus Sonnenleiter, President and CEO at Luftronix, and continued, “we see this as a chance to preserve the result of each inspection, make them comparable and have inspections conducted much faster and much more efficiently than it was possible in the past.”

MAUtechnic is hoping to reduce the turnaround time for a typical aircraft structure inspection by up to 50%, depending on the type of inspection, and to also utilize the technology in heavy maintenance for various verification use cases. The joint project will continue to repeatedly scan aircraft and find the most efficient path to inspecting aircraft even faster and more reliably.