FAA to advance inspection technology for engine rotables

Washington DC
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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking industry input on inspection techniques to better protect against uncontained engine failures.

Under a broad agency announcement (BAA) released on 5 June, the agency is asking for help with certain portions of its five-year, five-part engine non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technology development plan.

"As the aviation industry moves toward incorporation of damage tolerance concepts in the design and maintenance of propulsion systems, more challenging fatigue crack resistance and inspection requirements emerge," the FAA says in the BAA. "A number of specific advances in NDE capability, reproducibility, and reliability are needed to support future critical rotating components that many not necessarily conform to traditional design."

The five-year plan calls for developing a wide array of new or improved NDE methods, including ultrasonic and eddy current applications, automatic defect recognition aids and surface defect inspection techniques to replace or augment the current fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) methods.

In particular the BAA calls in industry and academia to submit two-page briefs on certain aspects of the roadmap by 26 June.

Included are requests for new NDE techniques to evaluate bond joint strength and mechanical integrity of blisks (single rotor/hub arrangement) and dual-alloy rotor disks, "fast, low-cost" large area inspection methods to detect surface anomalies in in-service critical rotating components, and new sensors for monitoring complex machining processes, like broaching, to minimise the possibility of producing a manufacturing induced anomaly.