NDT From the Sustainment Engineering Perspective: Decision Without Disassembly

It is easy to focus on the advancement of NDT technology for its own sake. The push for ever smaller detectable flaw sizes certainly develops new capabilities and adds to the state of the art. However, NDT results are needed and used by a wide variety of consumers, but the ultimate end for these results is not necessarily about finding the smallest defect during inspection. Non-destructive testing is an established method in aerospace, trusted by the maintenance community as a condition assessment tool; most maintenance activities are based on inspection or condition assessment, with unplanned activities being almost wholly so. Sustainment Engineering (sometimes known as Liaison Engineering) is a specialized engineering discipline, focused on both near- and long-term sustainment of operational systems. The sustainment engineer typically has one foot in engineering and the other in production (or maintenance), with responsibilities including repair, maintenance, and inspection planning. In the Sustainment Engineering role, timely NDT findings coupled with engineering judgment are often the only basis for "Decision Without Disassembly."

References
1. 2011 USAF Almanac. Aircraft Age. Air Force Magazine. May 2011. 2. Fact Sheet: High Velocity Maintenance. www.robins.af.mil/library/factsheets, February 26, 2010. 3. Charles Saff. Sustainment of Aging Aircraft: An Industry Perspective. Briefing for Sustainment Super Panel, Aircraft Airworthiness and Sustainment Conference, 2012. 4. National Research Council. Examination of the U.S. Air Force’s Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011. 10
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