Volume 03, Issue 1
The view from within
Borescope team probes for answers in hidden areas
BY KATHLEEN SPICER
Talk about your cool jobs. Employees in the Borescope/Remote Visual Inspection teams in Seattle and Everett (Wash.) Quality Assurance travel around the world, feel like heroes and save the day for their customers—all while saving Boeing millions of dollars in rework and production costs.
The team’s technicians use a borescope—a fiber optic video scope at the end of a flexible, movable stalk—to visually inspect areas inside an airplane that would otherwise be inaccessible without costly disassembly or disruption.
By saving customers time, said technician Matthew Moeller, the team’s services are invaluable.
“Borescope capability can verify and document part numbers deep within a flight deck, or snake through a fuel line inside an engine to identify a leak,” Moeller said. “Tasks that could take several hours, we can wrap up within 15 minutes.”
Their equipment sheds light on the miniscule, but their focus greatly enhances the proficiency of Engineering, Manufacturing and Flight Test functions. They also perform on-site inspections for customers in locations worldwide.
“Our work helps determine if an airplane in question or going through the testing process is ‘good to go,’” said Terrance Hostak, technician. “Our equipment also locates and retrieves foreign object debris that can interfere with customer deliveries or potentially interrupt flight schedules for in-service airplanes.”
To accomplish the necessary level of detail and comprehension, their smallest scope has the radius of spaghetti; the longest can search the entire length of a wing.
Vic Hinderer, Borescope/RVI team supervisor, said the team helps eliminate potential safety problems, contributes toward on-time deliveries, and reduces costs associated with unnecessary rework to access critical areas inside an airplane.
“We recently used borescopes to verify seal work in the chiller ducts of 777 galleys,” said Jim Rose, technician. “We saved employees 20 to 45 hours of disassembly and reassembly time otherwise added to their production schedule.”
The job can be stressful, but nevertheless rewarding.
“It’s a good feeling to help people,” said Bob Peterson, technician. “When we’ve identified the cause of a problem and saved employees hours of rework, everyone breathes a sigh of relief.”
The Borescope team traveled extensively performing engine inspections during the recent 777-300ER flight-testing program. Future work involves flight-test certification for the 7E7 Dreamliner, including support for extended operations and working with engine suppliers.
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