ST Engineering Aerospace has teamed up with Air New Zealand to use drones for aircraft inspection trials.
ST Engineering’s DroScan system is being used to inspect Air NZ Boeing 777s during heavy maintenance checks at Singapore Changi airport.
Air New Zealand
Air NZ is the first airline to trial DroScan, says ST Engineering, and is helping to cut down external inspection times from six to two hours.
The drone takes a planned route around the aircraft's exterior, taking a series of high-definition pictures that are then processed by specialist software to detect and classify defects.
“We’ve trialed using DroScan on a number of our aircraft undergoing maintenance inspections in Singapore now and believe using a drone will also help improve inspection quality. In future, there may be an opportunity to use the device in New Zealand, for example to conduct ad hoc inspections after lightning strikes,” says Air NZ chief ground operations officer Carrie Hurihanganui.
ST Engineering is also currently working with various regulators to get DroScan approved for use with Singapore-registered aircraft.
Air New Zealand and ST Engineering are also collaborating on manufacturing 3D printed replacement interior parts, and using data analytics to optimise maintenance activities.