Caring for the heart of the aircraft

Ryan Chen, Olympus’ OCSM RVI product manager explains how videoscope inspections can help enhance flight safety.


Considered the heart of the aircraft, the engine provides power to the entire airplane. Just like we need to care for our own heart with regular check-ups, inspectors must regularly assess and maintain aircraft engines to help keep planes flying safely.

As part of a routine inspection process, inspectors observe the conditions inside the aircraft engine by inserting an industrial videoscope without having to disassemble or damage the engine. Through meticulous and thorough inspection, problems inside the engine can be discovered and addressed early. Clearly, preventive maintenance is essential to promoting safety in the skies.

Extended range of vision

Industrial videoscopes can extend the inspectors’ range of vision because of their unique features. For instance, some models enable inspectors to change their viewing direction freely, helping them observe the internal surface condition of an object, such as an aircraft engine.

Many airline inspectors today benefit from this modern, intuitive technology. We recently interviewed a supervisor in charge of remote visual inspections at China Southern Airlines to learn how he uses the technology. The RVI supervisor said he depends on multiple types of videoscopes to help ensure the aircraft’s flight safety.

Fast, responsive scope tip articulation helps operators stay comfortable during aircraft inspections
Fast, responsive scope tip articulation helps operators stay comfortable during aircraft inspections

Every week, he carefully inspects aircraft engines, blades and other parts leveraging important features that make videoscopes so essential in his work:

High-quality imaging - The RVI supervisor spoke highly of the imaging on the videoscopes. Both IPLEX GX and NX videoscopes have a large touch screen and use Olympus’ proprietary image-processing technology to provide clearer images with less noise. The screen brightness also automatically adjusts for excellent visibility, even in bright light. With these features, the IPLEX series videoscopes provide clear, bright imaging to help reduce inspection time and increase efficiency.

Comfortable operation - The RVI supervisor also noted that IPLEX industrial videoscopes are easy to use and handle during daily operations. Even after a long period of use, they don’t cause excessive fatigue in inspectors’ hands. The comfortable operation is due to the innovative design of the insertion tube with joystick control. The scope tip on IPLEX GX and NX videoscopes features responsive TrueFeel articulation, enabling you to guide and control the scope’s orientation with a touch of the joystick. This nimble design and easy manoeuvrability help alleviate finger stress and fatigue that can occur during a long inspection.

Durable design - The high temperatures and pressure in an aircraft engine can put significant strain on inspection equipment. The RVI supervisor cited the IPLEX videoscopes’ durability in these tough environments, which is attributable to several design features: Main unit is sealed with industrial-grade rubber material to provide maximum airtight and watertight protection to the electrical components inside; Designed to meet IP standards for dust and water resistance: IP65 for IPLEX GX/GT and G Lite videoscopes and IP55 for IPLEX NX videoscopes; Built to meet the US Department of Defense testing (MIL-STD) standards to protect against a range of environmental hazards, including drops of up to 1.2m; Made of five layers of tungsten braid, the scope’s outer braid is built to last; during testing conducted by Olympus, the outer braid resisted more than 100,000 instances of wear and tear; Scope is water- and oil-resistant for use in a range of harsh environments.

Inspecting aircraft engines with industrial videoscopes has become a common non-destructive testing (NDT) application. In fact, it is often used in regular monitoring and maintenance of aircraft engines to detect damage and assess engines’ overall health and performance.

Industrial videoscopes provide high-quality images for inspection as well as easy operation, convenience, and readiness for harsh environments. Many leading airlines today rely on these industrial videoscopes to keep planes flying safely.

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