British Airways NDT Chooses ISONIC
Bond Testing and Mapping System for Concorde's Flying Surfaces

Concorde has been safely carrying passengers supersonically for many years. To ensure the continued safety, the flying surfaces are regularly inspected and monitored while "on wing" as well as when removed from the aircraft.

Due to the access (while on wing) and the size of the flying surfaces the engineers are faced with some practical problems. Currently a hand written inspection report is raised. To improve the quality of the reporting and have the ability to demonstrate and record a satisfactory inspection, British Airways required a system to record the manual scans.

The rugged portable battery operated computer based ISONIC workstation was developed originally for the inspection of metals, ensures the validity of manual inspection. It monitors probe coupling the area scanned and records all the results. British Airways decided to utilize these features with their bond testing requirements, recognizing the need for a mobile system that could be quickly set up on the aircraft.

To monitor the area scanned, ISONIC workstation uses airborne ultrasound. A transmitter is fastened to the conventional bond inspection probe and two or three receivers triangulate the current position of the probe while scanning in the up to 2x3 m region with 1 mm resolution. The mechanics free airborne ultrasound triangulation system featured with immunity against wind and ambient noise either for factory or hangar. The special software application MIAMAP was created to implement bond testing and mapping with the ISONIC workstation. A graphic of the inspection area is presented on the screen and as the operator scans with the probe, he "paintbrushes" the area that has been scanned properly. Defects detected change the color being plotted and a map (C-Scan) of the defects is produced. The inspection result can be saved on the disk and then plotted as a bond map. Post processing featured with automatic measurements of defect coordinates and creating comprehensive defects list.