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A4A/SAE Nondestructive Testing Innovation Award Honors Collins Aerospace-led Team for Novel Resonance Inspection of Commercial Aircraft Wheels

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2022 Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, and SAE International jointly presented the 18th Nondestructive Testing Innovation Award at the Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Forum. The award was presented to a team comprised of representatives from Collins Aerospace, Delta Air Lines, Vibrant Corporation and the United States Air Force for furthering the science and efficacy of nondestructive testing.

The Collins Aerospace-led team developed an equivalent, acceptable technique to Florescent Penetrant Inspection (FPI) for aircraft wheels. This was the culmination of five years of extensive NDT research and evaluation into methods that could have a significant positive effect on the environmental impact of the Collins Wheels and Brakes business unit. After years of comparison of NDT results from more than 1,200 individual parts, the determination was made that resonance inspection had equivalent sensitivity to traditional methods and was economically viable in the MRO environment.

The evaluation period demonstrated the use of a resonance inspection method reduced both greenhouse gases and hazardous waste streams both by one-third each while also reducing false rejection rates. From there, the Collins Wheel and Brake NDT manual was revised to include ASTM Standard Practices for resonance inspection, Component Maintenance Manuals were revised, and part number specific Service Letters were developed for use in the Service Centers. The first production resonance wheel inspections took place on May 11, 2022, at the Collins Aerospace Louisville Service Center.

Members of the 2022 NDT Innovation Award team include the following:

  • Andy Birch, Associate Director MRO, Collins Aerospace
  • Brian Spencer, Responsible Level III, Collins Aerospace
  • Brian Skinner, Principal Customer Support Engineer, Collins Aerospace
  • Scott Whittle, Chief Structures Engineer, Collins Aerospace
  • David Piotrowski, Senior Principal Engineer, Enabling Technologies, Delta
  • Roland Johnson, Wheel Shop Technician, Delta
  • Joe Benjamin, Principal Engineer, Wheel and Brake Engineering, Delta
  • Dr. Eric Lindgren, NDT Technology Lead, United States Airforce
  • Leanne Jauriqui, V.P. of Technology, Vibrant Corporation
  • Julie Heffernan, Application Engineer, Vibrant Corporation
  • Robert Parker, Application Engineer, Vibrant Corporation
  • Mark Ortega, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Vibrant Corporation

“A4A congratulates this year’s winning team for their innovative approach to developing an innovative NDT inspection method reducing greenhouse gases and hazardous waste stream and ensuring equivalency to proven world class aviation safety methods,” said Robert Ireland, A4A Vice President for Safety, Maintenance and Engineering. “Working collaboratively, this team reflects commitment to innovation and significant process improvements via applied technology. The team is an industry model of excellence in this regard.”

A4A’s NDT Forum is marking its 63rd year at a four-day conference held in San Antonio, Texas, where industry leaders are meeting to discuss current trends, issues and successes in NDT methodologies. The event features a number of presentations on achievements and lessons learned about technologies that help ensure the longevity and safety of aircraft structures by detecting defects well before they can be seen or cause a failure.


Airlines for America (A4A) members are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and UPS. Air Canada is an associate member.

A4A advocates on behalf of the leading U.S. airlines, both passenger and cargo carriers. A4A works collaboratively with industry stakeholders, federal agencies, the Administration, Congress, labor and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.

For more information about the airline industry, visit our website and our blog, A Better Flight Plan, at

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SAE International is a global organization committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. By engaging nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers, we connect and educate mobility professionals to enable safe, clean, and accessible mobility solutions. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including award-winning programs like A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

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