Current Safety Risk Reduction derives from Meta Data Analysis
FOQA major source of airworthiness analysis- but no help what it can’t see
Structural Monitoring Systems adds INSIGHT into Structural Cracks
The below article announces a significant advancement in the quest to find aeronautical problems BEFORE a potential failure occurs. Here is a description of how this new tool will reduce risk.
Flight Operations and Quality Assurance FOQA is a real time data collection system established by the FAA. It assesses critical aviation safety continuously. The examination of a multitude of reports about virtually all of the problems in the structures, outer surfaces, controls, engines and any other element of airworthiness.
Since 2004, FOQA has been providing important clues about safety risks. When combined with Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), Advanced Qualification Program (AQP), pilot reporting systems, and Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (VDRP) the FAA has a comprehensive, proactive platform to address issues BEFORE they become serious problems.
All of this assumes that the FAA is aware of an emerging potential risk. When FOQA can’t see, the determination of a remedial problem cannot begin. Some incipient defaults can only be observed when the airframe is in for a major overhaul; so the time intervals between opportunities to discover cracks, for example, is extended.
A tale demonstrating the delay between possible detection and final resolution; in 2012, it was said that an engineering design may contributed to cracks in the A380 huge wing spars. Then, in 2014, the OEM ordered the operators to conduct fatigue tests on the same safety critical structure. Finally, in 2019, finally EASA ordered the carriers to make “ detailed inspection instructions, requiring phased-array ultrasonic testing for the wing box.”
This seven year regulatory process is unusually long, but the point is that traditional methods of inspecting the internal airframe are not conducive to preventative safety.
The SMN will add to all CAAs ability to identify risks earlier and that’s a good thing.
ASX:SMN MCAP $114.7M
The CVM technology. Source: Structural Monitoring Systems
- Structural Monitoring Systems (SMN) receives formal US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for its aeroplane crack detection technology
- The tech has received FAA approval for use during Intelsat Wi-Fi antenna support structure inspections, marking a world-first achievement for sensor technology
- SMN’s Comparative Vacuum Monitoring (CVM) Sensor tech is designed to drastically reduce the time and effort required to detect cracks in Boeing 737-800 aircraft
- SMN says it now plans to streamline the path to commercialisation for the CVM tech by working with key stakeholders in the aviation industry
- Shares in SMN are up 50 per cent to $1.02 each at 12:20 am AEDT — the company’s highest share price in over two years
Shares in Structural Monitoring Systems (SMN) have skyrocketed on the ASX after the company received formal US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for its aeroplane crack detection technology.
SMN’s Comparative Vacuum Monitoring (CVM) Sensor tech is designed to drastically reduce the time and effort required to detect cracks in Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The tech has now received FAA approval for use during Intelsat Wi-Fi antenna support structure inspections.
This marks an “extraordinary milestone in aviation history”, according to SMN, given it’s the first FAA certification for sensor technology to detect critical structural cracks on an aircraft.
The current standard of practice for these types of B737-800 inspections is for operators to remove overhead ceiling panels, pneumatic ducting, and insulation blankets to perform inspections. The work that needs to go into an inspection means currently, the aircraft must be taken to the hangar in order for the inspections to be performed.
The CVM tech eliminates the need for all this prep work, allowing for inspections to be performed in just 30 minutes at the gate during a turn-around.
Structural Monitoring Systems said the FAA certification for this technology was expected to meaningfully impact the industry’s maintenance inspection methods.
SMN consultant and retired Chief Engineer of Sandia National Laboratories Dennis Roach said the FAA certification for the CVM tech took the product to “another level”.
“It represents the first approval for Structural Health Monitoring solutions on a fatigue critical structure,” Mr. Roach said.
“It also allows CVM to firmly demonstrate its engineering and economic value to airline maintenance programs.”
He said this certification will open the door for further approval for CVM deployment in other key aviation industry applications.
SMN’s Head of Business Development and Marketing Executive Vice President, Rich Poutier, said the company was excited to expand the commercial market of its CVM tech.
“This industry-first approval of SMS’s structural health monitoring technology granted by the FAA is a validation of the tremendous efforts put forth by the entire team,” he said.
What’s next for SMN?
Looking ahead, SMN said its immediate next step now that it had received FAA certification would be to streamline the path to commercialisation for the CVM technology.
The company said it would re-engage with major US airlines that had previously expressed a strong interest in the technology to better understand their current fleet plans and maintenance requirements.
While the company will assess the wider aviation industry, its short-term focus will be on airlines that currently have Intelsat 2Ku Wi-Fi antennas installed to highlight how they can directly benefit from the CVM tech.
SMN said its revenue model goal would remain to provide point-of-sales and licensing agreements for the use of its test equipment.
The company will initially focus on a limited number of applications while it works to meet initial production demand and ramp-up requirements for future production.
Today, shares in SMN were up 50 per cent to $1.02 each at 12:20 am AEDT — the company’s highest share price in over two years.
Share this article: