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Publication numberUS20040002797 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/064,291
Publication dateJan 1, 2004
Filing dateJun 28, 2002
Priority dateJun 28, 2002
Also published asCA2490059A1, CA2490059C, EP1520167A1, EP1520167B1, US6662088, WO2004003530A1
Publication number064291, 10064291, US 2004/0002797 A1, US 2004/002797 A1, US 20040002797 A1, US 20040002797A1, US 2004002797 A1, US 2004002797A1, US-A1-20040002797, US-A1-2004002797, US2004/0002797A1, US2004/002797A1, US20040002797 A1, US20040002797A1, US2004002797 A1, US2004002797A1
InventorsMichael Hopple, Elizabeth Dixon, Kenneth Herd, Gregory Mohr, Clifford Bueno
Original AssigneeHopple Michael Robert, Dixon Elizabeth Lockenberg, Herd Kenneth Gordan, Mohr Gregory Alan, Clifford Bueno
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Methods and systems for inspecting aircraft fuselage frames
US 20040002797 A1
Abstract
A method for inspecting an aircraft fuselage using an inspection system including a moveable detector, wherein the method includes coupling a collision avoidance system to the inspection system detector, monitoring the collision avoidance system during operation of the inspection system, and controlling operation of the inspection system with the collision avoidance system.
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Claims(22)
1. a method for inspecting an aircraft fuselage using an inspection system including a moveable detector, said method comprising:
coupling a collision avoidance system to the inspection system detector;
monitoring the collision avoidance system during operation of the inspection system; and
controlling operation of the inspection system with the collision avoidance system.
2. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein coupling a collision avoidance system comprises coupling at least one proximity sensor to the inspection system detector.
3. A method in accordance with claim 2 wherein coupling a collision avoidance system comprises coupling the at least one proximity sensor to the inspection system detector such that the collision avoidance system receives signals from the proximity sensor during operation of the inspection system.
4. A method in accordance with claim 2 wherein coupling at least one proximity sensor to the inspection system further comprises coupling at least one proximity sensor to the inspection system that is configured to generate an imminent collision signal.
5. A method in accordance with claim 2 wherein controlling operation of the inspection system comprises controlling operation of the inspection system based on input received by the at least one proximity sensor during operation of the inspection system.
6. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein coupling a collision avoidance system comprises coupling at least one protection device to the inspection system to facilitate preventing contact between the inspection system and the aircraft fuselage.
7. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein coupling a collision avoidance system comprises coupling at least one of an air-filled bladder sensor and an accelerometer to the inspection system detector.
8. An apparatus for inspecting an aircraft fuselage comprising:
a moveable detector; and
a collision avoidance system in electrical communication with said moveable detector to control said moveable detector for inspecting the aircraft fuselage.
9. An apparatus in accordance with claim 8 wherein said apparatus further comprises at least one proximity sensor electrically coupled to said moveable detector.
10. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said at least one proximity sensor is electrically coupled to said collision avoidance system such that said collision avoidance system receives a signal from said at least one proximity sensor during operation of said moveable detector.
11. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said at least one proximity sensor comprises at least one of an infrared sensor, an air-filled bladder sensor, and an accelerometer.
12. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said at least one proximity sensor generates an imminent collision signal and transmits said signal to said collision avoidance system.
13. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said moveable detector is controlled based on input received by said at least one proximity sensor during the inspection of the airplane fuselage.
14. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 further comprising a stopping mechanism coupled to said moveable detector and configured to receive an imminent collision signals from said at least one proximity sensor to facilitate preventing contact between said moveable detector and the aircraft fuselage frame.
15. An apparatus in accordance with claim 8 further comprising at least one protection device electrically coupled to said moveable detector to facilitate preventing contact between said moveable detector and the aircraft fuselage.
16. An apparatus in accordance with claim 15 wherein said protection device comprises at least one of air-filled bladder, a balloon, and an airbag system.
17. An inspection system for inspecting an aircraft fuselage comprising:
a moveable detector;
at least one proximity sensor electrically coupled to said moveable detector; and
a collision avoidance system in electrical communication with said moveable detector and said at least one proximity sensor for controlling said moveable detector during the inspection of the aircraft fuselage.
18. A system in accordance with claim 17 wherein said collision avoidance system is configured to receive a signal from said at least one proximity sensor during operation of said moveable detector.
19. A system in accordance with claim 17 wherein said at least one proximity sensor generates an imminent collision signal and transmits said signal to said collision avoidance system during operation of said moveable detector.
20. A system in accordance with claim 19 wherein said at least one proximity sensor comprises at least one of an infrared sensor, an air-filled bladder sensor, and an accelerometer.
21. A system in accordance with claim 17 further comprising at least one protection device electrically coupled to said moveable detector to facilitate preventing contact between said moveable detector and the aircraft fuselage.
22. A system in accordance with claim 21 wherein said at least one protection device comprises at least one of an air-filled bladder, a balloon, and an airbag system.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates generally to aircraft fuselage frames, and more particularly to methods and systems for non-destructive inspection of aircraft fuselage frames.
  • [0002]
    In order to facilitate performing high-speed digital radiography for defect detection on passenger aircraft fuselage frames in both a timely and cost efficient manner, speed of data collection is primary. Speed can be addressed by rapid image acquisition, which can be accomplished through the synchronous motion of the energy source and the detector. In order to achieve adequate image quality, the detector must be located close to and along the outside of the aircraft fuselage to reduce the effects of magnification.
  • [0003]
    The proximity of the inspection system to the aircraft fuselage increases the potential for collision and damage to both the aircraft and the inspection system. To facilitate preventing collision and damage, at least some method of avoidance and protection is required.
  • SUMMARY OF INVENTION
  • [0004]
    In one aspect, a method for inspecting an aircraft fuselage using an inspection system that includes a moveable detector is provided. The method includes coupling a collision avoidance system to the inspection system detector, monitoring the collision avoidance system during operation of the inspection system, and controlling operation of the inspection system with the collision avoidance system.
  • [0005]
    In another aspect, an apparatus for inspecting an aircraft fuselage is provided. The apparatus includes a moveable detector, and a collision avoidance system in electrical communication with the moveable detector to control the moveable detector for inspecting the aircraft fuselage.
  • [0006]
    In another aspect, an inspection system for inspecting an aircraft fuselage is provided. The system includes a moveable detector, at least one proximity sensor electrically coupled to the moveable detector, and a collision avoidance system in electrical communication with the moveable detector and the at least one proximity sensor for controlling the moveable detector during the inspection of the aircraft fuselage.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • [0007]
    [0007]FIG. 1 is an illustration of an aircraft fuselage; and FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a collision avoidance system coupled to an inspection system for use with an aircraft fuselage.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0008]
    [0008]FIG. 1 is an illustration of an aircraft fuselage 10 of a passenger jet. FIG. 2 is block diagram of an inspection system 12 for use with an aircraft fuselage, such as, aircraft fuselage 10 in FIG. 1. Inspection system 12 can detect defects in the aircraft fuselage, such as cracks, corrosion, delaminations, disbonds, etc. Inspection system 12 may also be used with other types of aircraft fuselages, structural components, and materials that include these types of defects. More specifically, inspection system 12 includes a moveable detector 14 coupled in synchronous motion with an energy source (not shown). In one embodiment, inspection system 12 is a high-speed digital radiography system, such as the DXR-500 available from General Electric Inspection Technology, Cincinnati, Ohio. However, as will be appreciated by those in the art, other systems can be used within the scope of the present invention.
  • [0009]
    In operation, inspection system 12 rapidly passes close to and along fuselage 10. A collision avoidance system (CAS) 20 is coupled to inspection system 12 in order to prevent contact between inspection system 12 and fuselage 10 during the inspection process. CAS 20 includes at least one proximity sensor 22, at least one protection device 24, and a collision monitor 26. Proximity sensor 22 is electrically coupled to detector 14. In one embodiment, proximity sensor 22 is remotely coupled to detector 14. In one embodiment, proximity sensor 22 is a single sensor that includes at least an infrared sensor, an air-filled bladder sensor, or an accelerometer. In another embodiment, proximity sensor 22 is a group of sensors that includes a combination of at least an infrared sensor, an air-filled bladder sensor, or an accelerometer. An infrared sensor allows for measuring distance between detector 14 and fuselage 10. An air-filled bladder allows for monitoring changes in pressure and provides damage prevention. An accelerometer allows for measuring detector speed In operation, proximity sensor 22 generates signals during the operation of detector 14 and transmits those signals to collision monitor 26. If during the inspection process proximity sensor 22 detects an imminent collision, then a signal is transmitted to collision monitor 26. Monitor 26 is configured to send an imminent collision signal to an inspection system stopping mechanism 28. Stopping mechanism 28 is configured to immediately halt the motion of detector 14 and facilitate preventing a collision between detector 14 and fuselage 10. In one embodiment, stopping mechanism 28 is a manipulator that moves detector 14 away from fuselage 10.
  • [0010]
    A protection device 24 is coupled to inspection system 12. In one embodiment, protection device 24 includes, but is not limited to, one or a combination of at least an air-filled bladder, a balloon, or an airbag system. In another embodiment, protection device 24 includes other devices capable of protecting detector 14 as described herein.
  • [0011]
    Protection device 24 is in electrical communication with stopping mechanism 28 such that during operation, when stopping mechanism 28 receives an imminent collision signal from monitor 26, protection device 24 is deployed. Accordingly, detector 14 does not contact fuselage 10. In an alternative embodiment, protection device 24 is in electrical communication with proximity sensor 22 such that when proximity sensor 22 detects an imminent collision, protection device 24 is deployed and prevents contact between detector 14 and fuselage 10.
  • [0012]
    The above-described collision avoidance system 22 for an aircraft fuselage inspection system 12 is both cost-effective and highly reliable. The inspection system receives input from at least one proximity sensor coupled to the collision avoidance system to facilitate the prevention of contact between the movable detector and the aircraft fuselage. Furthermore, the collision avoidance system allows non-destructive inspections of aircraft fuselage frames. As a result, the inspection system can perform high-speed digital radiography on aircraft fuselages in close proximity without concern of damage to the detector or the fuselage or loss of image quality.
  • [0013]
    While the invention has been described in terms of various specific embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the claims.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20100003193 *Jul 2, 2009Jan 7, 2010University Of Virginia Patent FoundationUnit dosage of apadenoson
Classifications
U.S. Classification701/301, 701/3
International ClassificationG01M99/00, G01N23/04
Cooperative ClassificationG01N23/04
European ClassificationG01N23/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 28, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HOPPLE, MICHAEL ROBERT;DIXON, ELIZABETH LOCKENBERG;HERD,KENNETH GORDON;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:012843/0618
Effective date: 20020627
Mar 30, 2007FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jun 9, 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Jun 9, 2015FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12