Korean Air held a demo on 16 December to showcase its latest aircraft inspection technology using multiple drones, which is expected to shorten the inspection time and improve workplace safety.
This new technology uses four drones, each measuring 1 metre in width and height and weighing 5.5 kilos, to inspect aircraft fuselage with an operations programme that allows the drones to take photos of pre-planned areas.
The airline said the drone technology allows for the usual visual inspection time of about 10 hours to be reduced to about four hours. Equipped with high-performance cameras, these drones can identify objects up to 1 mm in size, allowing for detection of micro-defects that cannot be seen from above with the naked eye.
Korean Air shares inspection data through the cloud and has also applied a collision avoidance system and geo-fencing to maintain safety distances from surrounding facilities and prevent breakaways from the mission area.
In addition to developing this new technology in line with the government’s policy to strengthen the competitiveness of the aircraft MRO industry, the airline has also revised regulations to improve drone maintenance procedures, such as requiring the presence of safety personnel in addition to pilots and engineers.
Korean Air will work to improve safety and convenience for workers, stabilize operations and increase accuracy of inspections through continuous trials before officially launching the inspection drones next year.