A4A/SAE Better Way Award Honors Individuals Whose Work Demonstrates the First Commercial Aviation Application of Structural Health Monitoring

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2014 –Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, and SAE International, the ultimate knowledge source for mobility engineering, jointly presented the 12th Annual “Better Way Award” at the recent Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Forum to a team comprising members from Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Sandia National Laboratories, Structural Monitoring Systems Inc., and Aerodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp. for furthering the science and efficacy of nondestructive testing.

The team earned the award for its work demonstrating the “First Commercial Aviation Application of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM),” embedding Comparative Vacuum Monitoring sensors in critical areas, which advances structural inspection capabilities when executing inspections required by the maintenance programs. Delta has been instrumental in investigating what requirements are to be met to incorporate a change in their maintenance program, including certification. FAA Airworthiness Assurance Nondestructive Inspection Validation Center at Sandia National Labs has led the program to facilitate the ‘tech transfer’ and widespread adoption into the industry. The work accomplished will serve as the ‘blueprint’ for the future implementation of SHM on commercial aircraft.

Members of the 2014 “Better Way Award” team include Stephen Neidigk, Tom Rice, and Dennis Roach of Sandia National Laboratories; David Piotrowski, Alex Melton, John Bohler, Joe Reeves, Chris Coleman, and John Hays of Delta; Toby Chandler of Structural Monitoring Systems; Trevor Lynch-Staunton, Henry Kroker, Dave Veitch, and Brian Shaigec of Aerodyne; Paul Swindell, Mark Freisthler, and Ian Won of FAA; and John Linn of Boeing.

“A4A congratulates this year’s winning team for their collaborative effort to develop this new and innovative aircraft inspection procedure to advance structural inspection capabilities,” said Dan Elwell, A4A’s Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Operations. “Working in partnership, this team of industry leaders has further enhanced the overall safety through efficiency and reliability of the process.”

The A4A NDT Forum is marking its 57th year at a four-day conference held in San Francisco, 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 life and safety of aircraft structures by detecting defects well before they can be seen or cause a failure. This year’s topics showcase methodologies associated with composite structures and new repair methods for older aircraft models.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 11 million U.S. jobs. Airlines for America (A4A) vigorously advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness. Our member carriers and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.

America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the integral role the nation’s airlines play in connecting people and goods globally, spur the nation’s economic growth and create more high-paying jobs. A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting more than 145,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. 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 programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

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