Donecle has announced that its drone is now listed in the Airbus Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) with a task dedicated to lightning strike inspections. This new task is valid worldwide and applicable to all A320-family aircraft.
This breakthrough comes after a three-year-long qualification program including theoretical analysis, lab testing on representative panels with multiple paint schemes, and a sampling program with five partner airlines over three continents. Each partner airline performed both manual and drone-based inspections on different aircraft to compare the results. Airbus reviewed all the data that was shared with both EASA and FAA thanks to the bilateral agreements. Both regulators provided key feedback for integrating the drone inspection tasks.
The Donecle drone lightning strike inspection is indicated as an alternative to a fully manual task. In less than 45 minutes, the drone inspects all the aircraft upper areas
- Fuselage above the cabin floor level (STGR 23)
- Horizontal tail plane on top and below
- Vertical tail plane
- Upper surface of the wings, spoilers and flaps
- Upper surface of the sharklets, inboard surface of the wing fences
The company implemented a specific lightning strike inspection (LSI) filter on its image analyzer software that displays the roughly 1000 images that have to be checked. Initial deployments show the image review takes one to tow hours, depending on inspector experience and how clean or dirty the aircraft is.Email Post to a Friend