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13 July 2016
Commercial Aircraft

Airbus demonstrates aircraft inspection by drone at Farnborough

A350 XWB quality inspection by drone
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13 July 2016

A350 XWB quality inspection by drone

Aircraft quality inspection by drone on A350 XWB

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_5 Airbus, DOUMENJOU Alexandre - Masterfilm
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_5

At the 2016 Farnborough Airshow, Airbus utilised the A350 XWB on static display area to demonstrate its innovative process for inspecting aircraft by drone – which is planned to be used on completed production aircraft prior to customer delivery

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Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_2 Airbus, DOUMENJOU Alexandre - Masterfilm
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_2

A new breed of Airbus employees has been born: drone pilots who perform the visual inspection of completed jetliners prior to their customer delivery, taking only 10-15 minutes compared to approximately two hours when operators examine the aircraft from the moving arm of a boom lift

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Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_1 Airbus, DOUMENJOU Alexandre - Masterfilm
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_1

Airbus’ use of drones for aircraft inspection after their assembly and prior to customer delivery was demonstrated at the Farnborough Airshow by Ronie Gnecco, Innovation Manager for UAV Development & Applications within the Airbus Research and Technology organisation

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Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_4 Airbus, DOUMENJOU Alexandre - Masterfilm
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_4

Airbus’ drone-based visual inspection of aircraft prior to customer deliveries – demonstrated at the Farnborough Airshow with an A350 XWB on display – is in validation for use on A330 jetliners after completing the final assembly process, with future implementation on other projects

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Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_6 Airbus, DOUMENJOU Alexandre - Masterfilm
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_6

As part of its commitment to driving digitalisation in the aviation industry, Airbus demonstrated aircraft inspection by unmanned aerial vehicle, using its A350 XWB displayed at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow

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Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_3 Airbus, DOUMENJOU Alexandre - Masterfilm
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_3

The drone Airbus used at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow to demonstrate visual inspection of aircraft by unmanned aerial vehicles has a high definition camera and is flown using an automatic flight control system supervised by a human pilot

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13 July 2016

Airbus 3D digital model based on drone pic2

3D digital model based on drone pictures

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13 July 2016

Airbus 3D digital model based on drone pic1

3D digital model based on drone pictures

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_7 MASTERFILMS, GOUSSE Herve - MasterFilms
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_7

Airbus Head of Quality Nathalie Ducombeau fields media questions about the company’s innovative process for inspecting aircraft with drones – which was demonstrated at the Farnborough International Airshow, and is being validated for use on production aircraft prior to their handover to customers

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Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_8 MASTERFILMS, GOUSSE Herve - MasterFilms
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13 July 2016

Farnborough Airshow_Day 3_Airbus drone inspection of aircraft_8

At the Farnborough Airshow, Airbus Head of Quality Nathalie Ducombeau said the company’s plan to make drone-based visual inspection of its jetliners prior to customer deliveries is part of the company’s digital transformation drive

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Summary

Innovation and digitalisation for production ramp up

 
21 October 2016

Eye in the sky: aircraft inspection by drone

Airbus Head of Quality Nathalie Ducombeau explains the innovative quality control process of using drones for visually inspecting new production aircraft prior to their handover to customers. The drones follow an automatic flight control system supervised by a human pilot – taking aerial photos that are compiled in a 3D-digital model, recorded in a database, and then analysed. The result is significant savings in time.

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Airbus has demonstrated aircraft visual inspection using a drone at the Farnborough Airshow.
The drone, equipped with a high definition camera, performs visual inspection for the upper part of the aircraft. It is flown using an automatic flight control system supervised by a human pilot. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) follows a predetermined flight path and takes a series of pictures automatically. All these images and especially those showing any potential non-quality such as scratches, dents and painting defects, are compiled in a 3D digital model, recorded in a database and then analysed. This data helps improve traceability, prevention and reduction of damage.
The benefits of this innovative tool and process are significant. Aircraft downtime for inspection is reduced. Data acquisition by drone only takes 10 to 15 minutes, instead of 2 hours using conventional methods.
“The use of this new technology offers better working conditions including improving the safety and comfort for the quality inspectors”, says Nathalie Ducombeau, Airbus head of quality.
Operators no longer need to go up on a telescopic handler to perform the visual inspection, sometimes in poor weather conditions. In addition, picture analysis can be done anytime afterwards and in an office.
Aircraft visual inspections are an important part of the production process. It is part of the Airbus quality standards.
A full-scale industrial test is being conducted on A330 aircraft. Airbus is working on implementation on other programmes.
A350 XWB quality inspection by drone
 

Aircraft quality inspection by drone on A350 XWB

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