Avionics, fatigue, vibration, materials and flight, engine, non-destructive…all of these areas require specialist products, software and training. And they are all intertwined into aviation and the manufacturing and maintenance of the aircraft operated in this industry where it is imperative to be ready for anything at any time. We will be exploring the latest technological advances in aerospace testing as well as the tried and true products already here.
Fairview Microwave has just debuted a new series of miniature SMT packaged noise sources that are ideal for built-in test equipment, dithering for increased dynamic range of A/D converters and as a source for bit error rate testing. Applications include microwave radio, communication systems, military and commercial radar, base station infrastructure, test and measurement, and telecom data links.
Fairview Microwave’s new line of noise sources includes nine models with dual in-line pin (DIP) and industry standard SMT gullwing pin surface mount packaging options. They cover frequency ranges from 0.2 MHz to 3 GHz and provide a source of additive white gaussian noise (AWGN) with a crest factor of 5:1. The DIP models boast a noise output power level of -5dBm. The SMT gullwing pin models in this line feature high output ENR levels ranging from 31 dB to 51 dB. These rugged 50 Ohm designs can operate over a wide temperature range of -55°C to +125°C and require DC voltage levels of +12 Vdc or +15 Vdc.
“With this addition of miniature SMT packaged noise sources, we can fully address designers’ needs for circuit board level proof-of-concept or prototype applications. Plus, we’re able to bypass the normal 8-10 week lead times and, instead, ship these products the same day with no minimum order quantity,” said Tim Galla, senior product line manager.
“Every crisis presents an opportunity. Although the aviation sector – one of 8tree’s core markets – was adversely impacted by the COVID-19, our intention was to emerge stronger coming out of the crisis. The ISO9001 certification sends a clear message to our customers and stakeholders saying ‘8tree is still here – stronger than ever,’” says Erik Klaas, 8tree’s CTO.
8tree performs R&D, product design and manufacturing in Constance, Germany. ISO9001 certification for this site took effect on March 19th 2021.
“Alongside the adoption of 8tree’s products by major OEMs, airlines and MROs like Airbus, Delta, SIAEC and Lufthansa Technik, the independent ISO9001 certification marks another significant milestone for us. The certification emphasizes that 8tree’s products are developed and manufactured under highest quality standards,” says Arun Chhabra, 8tree’s CEO.
Ampex Data Systems (Ampex), a Delta Information Systems Company, has been awarded a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract in support of the Air Force Test Center. The contract will provide telemetric electrical system-supplies and ancillary services to Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), Eglin AFB, and other Department of Defense (DoD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) activities.
In addition to Ampex’s engineering and maintenance support, deliveries include high-speed flight test and mission data recorders. These units are SWaP-C optimized, software-defined, and provide a secure, network-capable platform for critical flight test instrumentation and mission operations.
Ampex supports United States Air Force and DoD mission avionics and flight testing as a supplier for programs including the F-15, F-16, F-18, F-35, B-2, MQ- 1, MQ-8, MQ-9, MQ-25, RQ-4, P-3, and P-8 among many others. Most notably, Ampex provides the network file servers and boot computers that are the digital backbone of the United States Navy’s E-2 C/D Hawkeye fleet.
“The future in this technology space is high-speed, network-based systems that can analyze recorded data and then secure it with advanced encryption,” said Jim Orahood, vice president and general manager of Ampex Data Systems. “Ampex can meet these future requirements now. We look forward to supporting the DoD and NASA through this new contract vehicle for the next decade.”
It’s very encouraging that the end of the pandemic is hopefully in sight and once these wonderful vaccines are successfully rolled out then life can start to return to some normality. At which point travel and events such as ATW can safely recommence.
We therefore feel it is more prudent to reschedule ATW, one last time, to 3-4th November ’21 giving the vaccine roll out more time. The event will remain at the same Diagora venue in Toulouse, France.
We are very confident that our in-person event will be a great success and it’s even bigger than when it was originally scheduled pre-pandemic! The conference programmes are already in place https://lnkd.in/dmS7FSz and the exhibitions halls are nearly full https://lnkd.in/dTRjzTW.
The hiatus in our event schedule has ironically given us more time to use our new publication, ✈ Aerospace Tech REVIEW to share news and raise even greater awareness of the event for us all. Therefore we expect a significant take up from attendees which will create a much needed business platform for us all.
Thank you to all our loyal supporters and see you in Toulouse!
Cinch Connectivity Solutions continues to expand the Johnson SMPM family with a new set of SMA to SMPM between-series adapters targeted at 5G and other high frequency test applications.
The new adapters are designed to deliver high frequency performance up to 26.5 GHz, operating beyond the typical SMA 18 GHz range, with an excellent VSWR of 1.20 up to 20 GHz and 1.25 from 20 to 26.5 GHz, the company says.
Johnson high frequency connectors and adapters support data signal transmission for test and measurement lab equipment, semiconductor ATE test boards, instrumentation test fixture hardware and many communication networking instrument applications.
Significantly enhanced image quality, interfaces inspired by consumer technology, and more features packed into smaller packages: These are some of the trends that have shaped the latest products being offered by Borescope Sales & Service, Gradient Lens, Olympus, USA Borescopes, and ViewTech Borescopes. Aerospace Tech Review spoke to these companies recently, to get the latest news on these products.
Borescope Sales & Service
Borescope Sales & Service is a family-run business with a passion for developing high-performance borescopes that are affordably priced for small MRO shops.
The company’s current offerings include the handheld PVJ Model Videoscope, which is a Pratt & Whitney approved PWC34910-108 remote visual inspection kit. It comes with 360-degree joystick articulation, probe diameters ranging from 3.9mm to 8mm with integrated LED light sources, a 4” HD resolution video monitor and onboard video recording/image capability.
Borescope Sales & Service’ PVJ20 handheld borescope is included in its Pratt & Whitney approved PWC34910-109 kit. The PVJ20 also has 360-degree joystick articulation, a 5” LCD display screen, graph measurement capability, and supports 3.9mm probes with interchangeable tips and built-in LED light sources.
According to Borescope Sales & Service spokesperson Ariana Goolsby, her company is developing a new ‘PVJPlus’ handheld borescope that will offer high-end capabilities at a target price of $10,000 or less. “We want to pack in as many features as we can for the ‘Mom and Pop’ shops who are competing with the big MROs,” she said. “This is why our PVJPlus includes features such as HD video recording, easily-interchangeable tips, multi-line text input on captured images, 10 different zoom settings — five in Live View — and rechargeable batteries that can run for four to eight hours at a time.” (The PLJ20 and PVJPlus offer WiFi/Bluetooth connection and UV/Blacklight lighting as options.)
The PVJPlus is currently being field-tested before being released to the MRO market. “We’ve had it in test mode for a year,” said Goolsby. “However, I don’t want to start selling it until we’ve accumulated two years’ worth of proven service.”
Borescopes R Us isn’t the only manufacturer determined to bring high-performance borescopes to the value-priced market. Gradient Lens Corporation, manufacturer of Hawkeye Precision Borescopes, has made the same strategic move with its new Hawkeye V3 HD video borescope. This handheld borescope features a micro HD camera producing superb image quality, a 5.5” HD daylight viewable touchscreen, 360 degree joystick control of any attached 4mm and 6mm probes (with built-in adjustable Micro LED illumination), video/still image recording capabilities, USB and HDMI ports, and Wi-Fi to wireless transmit the screen image onto nearby iPhones and iPads.
Users of the Hawkeye V3 touchscreen soon discover that its operations and features mirror those found on consumer smartphones. This is not a coincidence: “We tried to make our user interface similar to a smartphone because people are comfortable using that interface,” said Doug Kindred,president of Gradient Lens. “That’s why we use a menu-driven onscreen interface that works just like the one on an iPhone. This makes the Hawkeye V3 very user friendly and intuitive to operate. There’s almost no learning curve.”
Nevertheless, the Hawkeye V3 is very much a professional-level borescope with some very innovative features. For instance, the Hawkeye V3’s lighting options allow the user to reduce glare in onscreen images by selecting which areas to illuminate. This feature includes a ‘Center Weighting On’ option that cuts back reflected light from the middle of the image, allowing greater detail to be clearly seen.
Depending on the options ordered, the Hawkeye V3 HD video borescope’s price ranges from $11,000 to $15,000. “A comparable scope from one of the big borescope manufacturers would cost $20,000 or more,” Kindred said. “Offering great quality for less, made in America, is what we’re all about.”
Olympus’ products are at the very top end of the video borescope market. The company’s latest ‘videoscopes’ includes the flagship IPLEX NX. It is a portable unit with a large 8.4” HD touchscreen that supports 4mm, 6mm, and 6.2mm probes.
The IPLEX NG’s image quality/clarity is exceptional. It is supplemented by this videoscope’s HD quality video/still recording capability, a range of optical adaptors, and its ability to do onscreen measuring. “This last feature includes the ability to do highly precise 3D modelling and measurements,” said Bayard Morales, Olympus IMS’ Remote Visual Inspection Specialist. “Overall, the IPLEX NX videoscope provides its users with the maximum brightness and image resolution currently available.”
Olympus’ IPLEX GX/GT videoscopes cover the midrange of the borescope market with 8” HD touchscreens (with video/still image recording) and interchangeable insertion tubes/light sources. These models support onscreen scalar measurement as a standard feature. The IPLEX G Lite packs many of these features into a convenient handheld videoscope, while the IPLEX GAir adds remote visual inspection range using either a 65’ (20 meter) or 98’ (30 meter) insertion tube.
Like the competition’s borescopes, Olympus’ videoscopes feature user friendly interfaces modelled on consumer smartphones. But this manufacturer is thinking beyond this trend to implement larger, more ground-breaking advances.
For instance, Morales expects artificial intelligence (AI) engines to eventually provide automatic analysis of the videos/still images captured by videoscopes, based on parameters predefined by their users. He also foresees a time when many remote visual inspections will be carried out autonomously by AI-driven devices.
“The only real limit on AI autonomous tests in aerospace is the need to maneuver probes in confined and curved spaces,” said Morales. This is why human operators will remain essential to handle the most challenging inspections.
Another upcoming trend is to counter the declining number of trained inspectors at MRO facilities, by Olympus providing videoscope inspection support to its customers remotely. In this scenario, the customer would handle inserting and moving the probe inside the aircraft at their own hangar, while an Olympus-trained technician would guide them over IP and analyse the results on the customer’s behalf.
Bayard Morales doesn’t expect either of these trends to take hold for at least a decade. But he also notes that the automated analysis of some inspection results are already taking place.
When it comes to trends in borescope capabilities, “probably the biggest thing to affect the industry is highly improved image quality, even on the economy systems,” said Bill French, Owner of USA Borescopes. “The way I explain this improvement to customers is by comparing it to home video. Where we once had VHS, now we have Blu-Ray. Well, the improvement in borescope video has been just as significant.”
This level of improvement can be found in USA Borescope’s new USA1000 video borescope. “Available in 4mm and 6mm probe models, the USA1000 offers a very crisp and clean image thanks to its high resolution display,” said French. “The interface is also touchscreen-based. You just touch the screen to zoom in or out or to take a picture, just as you would on your smartphone.” This new unit also has a built-in temperature sensor to detect overheating, “which allows you to avoid costly mistakes and repairs,” he said.
“Major breakthroughs in borescope technology are driven primarily by smaller and more powerful LEDs and by the development of higher resolution micro-image sensors,” said Zack Wessels, Senior Sales Representative with ViewTech Borescopes. “While these two factors — light output and image quality — are the main drivers of borescope performance, other advancements, such as those in image processing software, battery technology, lens design and micro-assembly techniques, also contribute to product performance and the user experience.”
In combination with these advances, another trend driving borescope design — at least in the case of ViewTech’s new VJ-3 video borescope — is an ultra sleek, lightweight form factor. Designed to work with 2.8mm, 3.9mm and 6mm probes, “the VJ-3 is ViewTech’s latest video borescope, the third-generation scope in the VJ Series following the original VJ (2008) and VJ-Advance (2012),” said Wessels. “The VJ-3 improves upon the best features and attributes of the earlier VJ models: It is rugged, easy to use, has 4-way joystick-controlled articulation and delivers excellent image quality.”
The advances offered by the VJ-3 were inspired by the company’s “thousands of interactions with borescope customers and users, in person and on the phone, every year,” Wessels explained. “We listen to their needs and are constantly working on new features and product line extensions to meet those needs. For example, just in the past two years we have introduced a UV/IR scope, a dual-camera scope, a scope with ultra-high power fiberoptic illumination, and the world’s smallest articulating scope at just 2.2mm in diameter. Each of these borescopes is based on the new VJ-3 platform and was conceived and developed as a direct result of customer dialogue and our own experience in the field.”
Collaboration Helps Military Veterans Transition into NDT Careers
Olympus, maker of nondestructive testing (NDT) equipment, is supporting training school Warrior To Inspector’s mission to help transition retiring military veterans into a new NDT career by providing advanced inspection instruments for their ultrasonic testing (UT) courses.
Transitioning into an NDT career can be challenging without the right training, certifications and hands-on experience. Warrior To Inspector helps veterans find job success through their 3-semester, full-time NDT program that offers classroom and field training on real-world job sites. This ASNT CP-189 compliant program includes certifications in magnetic particle testing, ultrasonic thickness testing, ultrasonic shear-wave testing, phased array ultrasonic testing and Creaform laser profilometry.
This collaboration will enable veterans to train with Olympus’ cutting-edge UT equipment used in the NDT field today.
“We’re very excited to contribute to the Warrior To Inspector mission,” said Dave Menne, VP of Sales and Marketing at Olympus. “Kenny Greene and his team are exceptional trainers with a unique educational approach. The veterans and other civilians in the class are clearly energized to be in such an impressive program.”
Kenny Greene, president and lead instructor of Warrior To Inspector, explained how Olympus has remained a vital resource for their programs. “During a significant project in 2004, Olympus showed how committed they were to customer service. Olympus brought in as much demo equipment as we had purchased to help ease the burden of outfitting a team of shear-wave technicians. Again in 2011, I was part of another quickly growing NDT department in need of phased array equipment. This led to a very large purchase of OmniScan MX2 flaw detectors, and the Olympus team exceeded all expectations again,” said Greene.
Greene continued, “As I am tasked to create an NDT and Pipeline Integrity Trade School that the industry has been demanding for decades, Olympus is once again there for us as we help meet the needs of military veterans and civilians and join their commitment to training tomorrow’s inspectors.”
For more information about the collaboration, visit Olympus-IMS.com/Training-Members.
CCX Technologies has inked a distribution agreement with Avant Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of West Star Aviation. The agreement gives Avant, a leading aviation parts distributor, the exclusive right to sell CCX’s innovative T-RX Avionics Radio and Pulse Testers in South America and Mexico.
“The Avant team has a deep understanding, strong presence and excellent reputation in South America and Mexico, a clear advantage as we expand our T-RX tester’s footprint into the region,” said Chris Bartlett, president of CCX Technologies. “When it comes to customer support, our philosophy is simple: provide it where our customers are based. This agreement is an essential step in our aim to make avionics testing easier and more efficient for aircraft maintainers around the world, and we welcome this great opportunity to work with Avant. They are leaders in the MRO field and we look forward to building a strong relationship.”
Aircraft maintainers and technicians use the T-RX to test the majority of avionics radio systems with more than 100 different tests. Rugged, easy to use and portable, the T-RX replaces legacy testers with a single, compact unit that is easy to upgrade as new test requirements and standards emerge. The T-RX streamlines testing and allows maintainers to print test reports and incorporate them into customer work orders, saving time while giving confidence that testing is done right.
“At Avant, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality certified parts and service to MROs,” said John Hardy, director of Avant Aerospace. “We are keen to put the T-RX to use testing our own parts, but more importantly, giving MROs all over South America and Mexico the ability to benefit from the T-Rx’s streamlined testing capabilities. We’re pleased to have this opportunity to represent CCX in this growing market.”
GDP Space Systems will be providing ground equipment to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in support of the upcoming Psyche mission. Originally purchased to support previous successful Mars programs, GDP’s telemetry receivers have now been repurposed to test the RF transmitter for the Psyche mission; a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.
By spring of 2022, the spacecraft will be fully assembled and ready to ship to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where it will launch in August 2022. Psyche will fly by Mars for a gravity assist in May 2023 and in early 2026, it will slip into orbit around the asteroid, where it will spend 21 months gathering data for analysis. The Psyche spacecraft’s target is a metal-rich asteroid of the same name, which orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists think that, unlike rocky or icy asteroids, Psyche is largely iron and nickel and could be the heart of an early planet that lost its outer layers. Exploring the asteroid Psyche (about 140 miles, or 226 kilometers, wide) could lend valuable insight into how Earth and other planets formed.
These critical JPL missions presented a unique and difficult task for the Model 4426 Telemetry Receivers; to support extremely low bit rates and poor signal to noise ratio, down to 10 bits per second with convolutional encoding. For testing the Psyche transmitter, the receiver is now processing a QPSK signal at 1.08Mbps and is capable of operation up to 40Mbps. The 3rd generation telemetry receiver design provides comprehensive multi-link support for satellite and flight test ground station applications in a fully integrated package. In addition to the exclusive 4-Input Diversity Combiner Function and their Ethernet Outputs supporting IRIG 218-20, IRIG 106 Chapter 7 / Chapter 10, and IRIG 106-17 Appendix 2G Best Source Selection (DQE), the Model 4426 product line features an internal 70MHz Test Modulator Output function making it ideal for ground telemetry missions.
“Our receiver product line offers unmatched performance, features, and functionality in a cost-effective solution” stated Gary Thom, president of GDP Space Systems. “We are very excited to be a part of this historic mission to understand the origins of our planet.” GDP Space System’s telemetry receivers were also selected for use in the successful mission that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars for remote exploration and for the Perseverance rover, which is scheduled to arrive on Mars in February 2021.
Barfield Inc., a subsidiary of Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) in the Americas, has tapped Anthony Imparato to lead its Operations and Quality for its Miami, Doral, Louisville and Phoenix facilities. Imparato previously held the same position for Barfield’s Miami, Louisville and Phoenix. “We are fortunate to have someone of Anthony’s caliber and experience on our team. We thank him for his 15-year commitment to our company. We are at a critical moment in our company’s history and need renewed leadership to navigate this crisis and successfully implement our recovery strategy,” says Herve Page, CEO of Barfield.
“My vision for the department starts with the employees. We have very knowledgeable employees that will help take us to the next level of customer satisfaction and efficiency. Introducing new capabilities to support new aircraft platforms brings challenges that I‘m confident our team will be able to handle and support. As we move forward, automation will play an important part in our daily activities. Utilizing these new tools will continue our path as a leading third-party MRO,” says Imparato.
Barfiel announcd the selection of Gilles Mercier as senior vice president of Customer Care and Business Development. His main responsibility is to put the customer at the center of the company’s decisions, improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. He was previously SVP of Operations of Barfield’s facilities in Doral.
Additionally, Barfield appointed Sebastien Losy to the position of vice president of Transformation and Innovation. He will have the primary responsibility of leading the industrial reorganization of the company, optimizing Barfield’s repair capability throughout the US, identifying and capitalizing on Cost Saving opportunities, while defining a robust sanitary process to keep our staff safe in all facilities during these difficult and challenging times.
Barfield also appointed Romain Valente as its chief financial officer. Valente joins Barfield from Air France-KLM Group in New York City where he served as area controller – North America for about three years.
AFI KLM E&M American Subsidiary Barfield has been awarded a new patent from U.S Patent Office for remote application update of its Air Data Tester.
The claims of the newly allotted patent are directed towards instrument measurement systems and methods for remotely updating. A huge achievement regarding the development of the firmware and software which are at the core of the company’s Ground Support Test Equipment (GSTE).
The “yellow box” from Barfield is now a pioneer in using remote update as a convenient and time saving unique solution in air data testing. This patent innovation is for automatically and remotely updating a software on an instrument measurement device that is isolated from wide area networks, comprising the steps of downloading an application from an application store, installing the downloaded application on the receiving device, establishing a peer to peer Wi-Fi direct protocol connection, triggering automatically a software update on the measurement device, and restarting the measurement device.
“We made this change to allow current and future Barfield equipment to be easily updated with new features and software in the field. We realized that this was a very unique and powerful feature, so it made sense to patent the idea,” says Lew Wingate, Barfield Vice President of Ground Support Test Equipment (GSTE) and one of the patent’s authors. The two other authors are Alexis Rodriguez and Maria Mercedes Gonzalez.
“This new technology affirms Barfield’s position at the forefront of the aviation industry cutting edge technology. It has been a long process, but we are thrilled the patent was finally issued. I would like to congratulate Lew, Alexis and Mercedes for a job well done and for making Barfield a state-of-the-art company,” said Hervé Page, Barfield CEO.