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Borescopes and Aviation Maintenance

Last Updated: 19.04.24


Borescopes have a unique ability that humans don’t, and that is to see in places where the human eye can’t reach and needs extra help. In the aviation industry, the use of borescopes is quite widespread, due to the ability to run nondestructive testing for various components and airframes. They can be used as diagnostic tools for detecting damage, and many aviation experts and technicians depend on such tools in their work.

How exactly does aviation maintenance benefit from the use of borescopes?

As mentioned earlier, borescopes are used for reaching cramped areas where the naked eye cannot see anything. For visual inspection, there is hardly a better tool than a long cable with a camera on one end that can be inserted in any holes and used to examine the area while transmitting pictures and videos to a remote device.

This is the type of tool aviation technicians use to ensure that the maintenance work they run doesn’t result in destructive consequences. It is vital that the borescope a technician uses has a flexible cable so that it can reach to those areas that are located at the end of winding channels.

Some models are called fiberscopes, and they work because the images are transmitted from the distal end to the camera located on the other end. You will notice that good quality models also come with excellent illumination. Since the areas that need close inspection are usually in the dark, there is no better way of capturing pictures and videos of the possible damages and issues without extra light.

Models that are equipped with a camera on the distal end are preferred for the simple fact that they do not depend on fiber optics to transmit images, but simply capture what needs to be captured and record just like any other camera would.

No matter which model you choose, you will find out that the range of applications is quite large. For inspecting the engine, or the airframe, or for detecting foreign object damage, such tools can prove indispensable.

A benefit that should not be overlooked is the fact that there are no additional costs with taking apart the engine or other parts of the aircraft to check for damages. For the teams of technicians working in this field, a borescope is a tool that saves them a lot of extra work.

How come borescopes became just an important part of aviation maintenance?

If you are wondering how technicians specialized in aviation maintenance concluded that these tools could help them, it is enough to take a look at a borescope and see what it is designed for.

While people can use a borescope to find a water infiltration or broken wires inside a wall, aviation technicians can do the same for identifying damage and other issues inside an engine, an airframe, or any other part where visual inspection is not possible.

There is a definite advantage that technicians see in the use of borescopes for their work. Not having to take apart the structure that needs inspection limits the extra damage that can occur, entirely unintentionally. Besides saving time and money, these tools can also save lives, seeing how even a small thing that goes wrong can make a plane crash.

An important part is having enough articulation in the cable you are manipulating to reach the areas where an evaluation is needed. With the technology now available, it is possible to see everything, no matter how deep inside an engine is located. Therefore, borescopes offer tremendous value.


What parts of an aircraft can be inspected using a borescope?

At first glance, you might think that the engine is pretty much the only thing that would benefit from inspections with a borescope, but maintenance technicians know that such tools can be used to cover even more ground.

For instance, they can be used to inspect bells cranks, wiring connections, hose attachments, the inside of wing spars, composite panels, and many other cramped areas where it would not be possible to reach with the naked eye.

Aviation technicians can use a borescope to read an ID plate or a serial number. Also, they can inspect the entire airframe for loose nuts and bolts. The compass compartment can also be inspected thoroughly with the help of a borescope. Fluid leaks are on the list of problems that can be investigated with the help of such a tool.

Each airframe is different, as technicians can tell you, which means that one can use a borescope for various tasks depending on what kind of configuration they have to deal with. For instance, in the case of a piston-powered model, technicians can use this device to inspect the frame for scorched pistons, the condition of the valves, or other problems that are particular to this construction.

For turbine-powered models, the same borescope will be able to give technicians valuable insight into the condition of the turbine blades, or guide vanes.

We have talked about various uses of a borescope in this article so that you can see for yourself how useful this type of device can be. In the case of aviation maintenance, it can prove to be an indispensable item that any technician should have access to.

Quick tips for using a borescope for aviation maintenance the right way

Technicians who use borescopes are advised to treat their tools with care, as these devices come packed with electronics and they need to be handled properly. Another tip that technicians should not forget is to take pictures and record videos of problematic areas so that they can ask for a second opinion when in doubt.

The use of guiding tubes is recommended in such situations. Technicians need to make sure that their tools are cleaned regularly to avoid build-up of debris. Also, it is essential that they follow the proper training for using such a device so that, in the end, they can use them correctly and in good conditions.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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