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Apparatus and Method for Inspection of Aircraft Wing Attachment Fittings Using Electric Current Perturbation

Abstract: 

A device and methods for using the device, that permit the rapid and accurate inspection of aircraft wing attachment fittings, including those wing to fuselage attachments modified according to a Structural Life Extension Program (SLEP). Such aircraft life extension programs often result in the placement of fitting stack-up components that tend to challenge the ability of standard inspection sensors and techniques to achieve accurate readings. A specially designed, contact compliant, Electric Current Perturbation (ECP) probe is used. The ECP probe positions a receive coil in conjunction with a drive coil (and its ferrite core) in a manner that minimizes steel interferences in the inspection area. The ECP probe works with conventional eddy current instrumentation with an index scanner to allow for flaw location within a particular stack-up layer and/or within the area around the attachment aperture. Data acquired through the use of the system and method of the present invention allows for the rapid discernment of flaws and defects in the area adjacent the probe placement.

Patent Number: 
7,501,814
Date Of Issue: 
03/10/2009
Inventors: 

Clinton J. Thwing;Gary L. Burkhardt