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The serviceability of aircrafts have been linked with performing on condition maintenance. Borescope inspection is one of the major techniques in aircraft maintenance. In fact, it is the most widely used technique, as it comprises 80% of the total maintenance of an aircraft. Therefore, it is imperative to train students for effective and efficient application of this technique in practical life. From the context of this issue and existing literature, the need of a training package for students, and assessment guide for teachers, is identified. The deliverables of this project are two booklets containing detailed guidelines on using borescope in two major sections of the aircraft engine including combustion chamber and turbine section and teaching assessment guidelines respectively. The key tasks required for achieving these identified deliverables and estimated timeline for each task is given. The major benchmarks of the project, recent progress and its limitations are also discussed.
Quality assurance and airworthiness have an important role in aircraft maintenance. In civil aviation, airworthiness depends on the process of inspection in which an inspector is responsible for detecting possible defects. Possible failure pathways are considered and recovery methods are determined (Griffioen, 2011). Regular inspection is conducted to ensure detection. Inspection techniques assure that all possible defects in structure or engine are timely detected so that catastrophic effects can be avoided.
The initial inspection techniques required disassembly of the aircrafts for detailed inspection. Visual inspection is one of the primary elements of aircraft maintenance. Rapid advances in technology have provided maintenance and inspection staff with a wide range of Non – Destructive Inspection (NDI) techniques (Reasons and Hobbs, 2003). NDI comprises of various techniques to detect small malfunctions and hidden defects. These techniques use X-ray, ultrasonic, magnetic and fluorescent lights to make very small cracks visible. These techniques have a human interface attributed to visual inspection. Of all the inspections, the visual results in 80% detection of flaws before they become perilous (Williams, 2009).
However, the airworthiness and serviceability of an aircraft is decided after performing visual inspection in addition to the use of technologically advanced equipment. One of the most important visual inspection techniques includes the use of borescope. Drudy (2002) reported that borescope inspection was an essential and successful off-line monitoring technique. A borescope enables aircraft inspectors to see inside parts that cannot be seen without disassembly, e.g. inside engine cylinders, pistons, valves and cylinder walls. It is conducted periodically and results are recorded with the help of a video camera. Borescope inspections are quick and reduce loss of turbine accessibility (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008). Borescope is used to see cracks, erosion, corrosion and buckling in different components. For successful inspections, a well-trained workforce is required in addition to well-defined procedures. Borescope inspection has become a standard in the visual inspection of aircrafts. Failure in detection of the cracks and damage to inside parts may result in catastrophic accidents (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008).
The serviceability of aircrafts have been linked with performing on condition maintenance. It aims at detecting failures before they occur and largely relies on the capability of inspectors to detect or predict defects that may lead to failure. This allows the initiation of preventive maintenance and unexpected failures (Rao, 1996). Borescope are essential to perform on condition maintenance. Results of borescope inspection have helped in delaying or preventing failures and replace the damaged apparatus at the earliest. Griffioen (2011) stated that proper borescope inspections not only detected service requirements but it also reduced aircraft downtimes.
Keeping in view the significant role of borescope in inspection, it is imperative that the students of aircraft maintenance and engineering be trained for effective use of borescope during inspection. Borescope training is an essential part of the maintenance training programs offered by civil aviation institutions and educational institutes offering aircraft engineering courses. In addition to the training of using borescope, it is essential to test their performance in using it.
There should be a document containing guidelines for conducting borescope inspection in an efficient way. In most of the training programs, teachers perform demonstrations to show the effective use of borescope while inspecting an aircraft (Drury and Sarac, 1997). After that, the students are required to perform inspection with the help of this equipment. Most of the time, students find it difficult to assess their performance due to lack of set guidelines or rules for making effective use of borescope inspection. On the other hand, teachers find it difficult to mark the practical performance of students while using borescope in laboratories (Spencer and Schurman, 1995).
The unavailability of set standards and guidelines for practical use of borescope necessitates that a training package, along with a teachers' assessment package is developed. The issues discussed above clearly indicate the significance of borescope in aircraft maintenance, need for a training package for students and a teaching assessment guide to facilitate teachers. Therefore, the major aim of this project is to design an assessment to test students' performance using the borescope along with a teacher assessment guide. This will allow students to develop their skills when carrying out this type of inspection. The key objectives to achieve this aim are outlined below:
ü To understand the working of borescope in the Kingston University lab,
ü To structure a set of guidelines on how borescope inspection is performed on the turbine section,
ü To structure a set of guidelines on how to test and use borescope for visual inspection of the combustion chamber,
ü To create an effective borescope training package by combining the guidelines on general working of borescope and its use in inspection of turbine section and combustion section,
ü To structure a teaching assessment guide based on objectives and requirements of borescope training package.
In light of the aim and objectives of this project, it is clear that the project has two deliverables. These are listed below:
Borescope inspection training package,
A Teacher's Guide for Assessment of Students undergoing borescope training program.
The first deliverable will be in the form of a booklet containing the major elements of borescope training and guidelines for students. The major focus of this deliverable will be on enabling students to test their borescope inspection skills in a working environment. This booklet will be divided into two major sections. The first section will entail guidelines on borescope inspection of the turbine section of an aircraft engine while the second section will entail guidelines on borescope inspection of the combustion chamber of an aircraft engine. This booklet will facilitate students to prepare for assessment and equip them with detailed and comprehensive knowledge on the various steps required to complete the borescope inspection and ensure aircraft maintenance. The teaching assessment guide will also be prepared in the form of a booklet. It will contain guidelines for assessment of students' performance and award marks based on their performance.
In order to achieve the aims of this project and provide deliverables, it is essential to analyse various tasks that will be essential for the successful completion of the project. The following tasks are identified and will be performed for successful completion of this project.
Desk Research to set goals and obtain primary information,
Planning of the project,
Explore importance of borescope inspection in aircraft maintenance,
General working of borescope,
Identification of essential elements of borescope training,
Identify and enlist major steps involved in borescope inspection of turbine section,
Identify and enlist major steps involved in borescope inspection of combustion chamber,
Addition of details and precautions to each step,
Collection of the information in two separate sections: borescope inspection of turbine section and borescope inspection of the combustion chamber,
Combining the sections in the form of a booklet,
Conduct a small amount of research to identify major barriers in the effective assessment of students in borescope training,
Enlisting guidelines for assessing and marking the performance of students in borescope training,
Formatting the guidelines in a booklet,
Adding titles, preambles, contents and other essential elements in the booklets,
Review of booklets,
Printing and distribution of the booklets,
Termination of project.
As a first step to this project, desk research was conducted that helped in selecting the title and main objectives.. Based on the objectives, a project plan has been devised. The research will be conducted to gather secondary data about the importance of borescope inspection so that the students get a clear idea of the importance of this task. Moreover, this introduction will also provide the students with the risks and hazards of negligence in borescope inspection of the aircraft's components. The purpose is to engage students in the details of this task.
The next step is the identification of major elements or components of the borescope training program. To accomplish this task, the training programs offered by professional institutes and imminent educational institutions will be analysed and a comprehensive program will be structured. The focus of this project is on the borescope inspection of turbine section and combustion chamber of the aircraft. Therefore, detailed research will be collected regarding different types of defects that may occur in these sections will be gathered and included in the deliverable. Minor details of each step involved in borescope inspection of these parts will be listed, and its practical elements will be explained, to ensure that students acquire expertise over the use of borescope in these sections. Once the required information is gathered, it will be systematically arranged in the form of a booklet. The booklet will be reviewed repeatedly to identify any shortcomings and make improvements to the extent possible. Similarly, the research will be conducted to identify the major principles of assessing student's performance in borescope training and use. These principles and guidelines will be systematically arranged in the form of a booklet and will be reviewed to identify errors and mistakes. The information will be made current to the extent possible. At the end of the project, the booklets will be published and distributed. The following section illustrates the estimated timeline for the completion of this project.
The following Gantt chart illustrates the estimated timeline for the completion of different tasks required for successful completion of this project. It starts from the third week of December 2013 and ends in first week of April 2014.
In light of the estimated timeline of the project, some major benchmarks have been selected for this project. These benchmarks or milestones include:
Completion of research,
Completion of feasible plan,
Collection of data regarding the guidelines for students,
Collection of data regarding the assessment guidelines for teachers,
Arrangement and compilation of data in booklet form,
Review and editing of the booklets,
Printing and distribution of booklets,
To date, the research and planning tasks of this project have been completed. The plan has also provided the basis for efficient and timely completion of the tasks identified for the completion of the project. The major benchmarks have been identified and these benchmarks will facilitate the evaluation of the progress in the project according to the given timeline.
The plan for borescope training program package has been provided. The discussion of borescope inspection and it significance in aircraft maintenance provided sound justification for the topic, aims and objectives of this project. The main aim of the project is to assist students in gaining detailed understanding of the working of borescope and steps involved in efficient inspection. The deliverables of the project are identified as two booklets containing guidelines for students regarding the practical use of borescope and for teachers regarding the assessment of students in borescope training programs. The limitation of this program is that it only deals with the borescope inspection of turbine section and combustion chamber of the engine. It does not provide information and guidelines to apply borescope inspection on other parts of the engine.
Drury, C. G. and Sarac, A., 1997, A design aid for improved documentation in aircraft maintenance. Proceedings of the 41st Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, pp.1158-1162.
Drury, C. G., 2002. Visual Inspection Reliability; what we know and why we need to know it. 16th Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance Symposium, pp.2-4.
Federal Aviation Administration, 2008. Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook. Indomitable Publications.
Griffioen, H., 2011. Air Crash Investigations: LOST PROPELLER BLADE KILLS 8, the Crash of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529. Lulu.com press.
Rao, B. K. N., 1996. Handbook of Condition Monitoring. New York: Elsevier.
Reasons, J. J. and Hobbs, A., 2003. Managing Maintenance Error: A Practical Guide. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Spencer, F. and Schurman, D., 1995, Reliability Assessment at Airline Inspection Facilities. Volume III: Results of an Eddy Current Inspection Reliability Experiment, DOT/FAA/CT-92/12, Atlantic City, FAA Technical Center.
Williams, A., 2009. Contemporary Issues Shaping China's Civil Aviation Policy: Balancing International with Domestic Priorities. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.