September 29, 2014

In-flight sensor tests a step toward Structural Health Monitoring for safer flights

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Nine commercial aircraft flying regular routes are on the frontier of aviation safety, carrying sensors that monitor their structural health along with their routine maintenance. These flight tests are part of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process that will make the sensors widely available to U.S. airlines.

“The flight test program is underway,” said Dennis Roach, a senior scientist in Sandia National Laboratories’ Transportation, Safeguards & Surety Program who has worked in aviation safety for 25 years. “We have moved past laboratory research and are looking for certification for actual on-board usage. Our activities are proving that the sensors work on particular applications and that it is safe and reliable to use these sensor systems for routine aircraft maintenance.”