Last February, Borescope Expert Jess Kuznicki presented the VJ-Advance (VJ-ADV) video borescope at the Great Lakes Aviation Conference & Expo in Lansing, Michigan. While exhibiting, he had the opportunity to meet numerous aviation maintenance professionals. One encounter, however, stood out above the rest: students from MIAT College of Technology noticed RF System Lab’s booth and checked out the scope. Jess struck up a conversation with the students and realized that this was a golden opportunity to get our scope in the hands of students. After speaking with their supervisor, MIAT’s National Director of Business Relations Amy Kienast, about RF System Lab’s no-cost, no-obligation demo program, the demo agreement was signed and a 3.9mm VJ-ADV was sent to MIAT. The aviation maintenance students provided RF System Lab with great feedback about their experience using the VJ-ADV in their hanger at MIAT.
MIAT College of Technology, located in Canton, Michigan, offers a variety of degree programs. The students that demoed the VJ-ADV video borescope were working towards their Aviation Maintenance Technology Associates Degree. Through this program, the students learn the advanced precision skills necessary to become FAA Certificated Airframe and Power Plant Technicians. A few of the precision technical skills MIAT graduates master during training include gear systems and operation, composite structure fabrication, avionics and advanced electrical systems, and high performance piston and turbine engines.
The high performance turbine engines were what the students were most excited to perform inspections on with the VJ-ADV. However, they were going to have to wait a few days. When the scope first arrived at the MIAT campus, Amy Kienast was on the verge of heading out of town for a week, so she told the students that she was going to lock the VJ-ADV in her office until she was back to supervise. The students, after begging her to reconsider and then realizing that was not getting them very far, offered a compromise.
“They were so eager to demo the scope that they settled for pouring over the instruction manual as a compromise. They wanted to know the VJ-ADV inside and out – the students studied that instruction manual from top to bottom before they eventually had the video borescope in their hands. They really wanted to know every aspect they could,” explained Kienast.
Once Kienast was back in the office, the students immediately got to work utilizing the VJ-ADV for performing inspections on the combustor of their Pratt & Whitney JT9 turbine engine; as well as an APU Honeywell for a 747. The borescope was used on the Pratt & Whitney JT9 to inspect the fuel nozzles in the combustor, the cooling passages, and the nozzle that guides the hot gas underneath the turbine blades. With the VJ-ADV, MIAT students were able to see where the nozzle had started stress rupturing from too much heat, causing some cracks to propagate from that area onto the combustion. When inspecting the APU Honeywell, students inserted the VJ-ADV directly into the combustor, which allowed them to easily observe the engine’s internal conditions.
Joe Zugschwert, the instructor leading the remote visual inspections, said that “compared to the older borescope we normally use, the definition and video display on the VJ-ADV is extremely impressive. Another major upgrade that the VJ-ADV offered is that there is much more maneuverability when you are able to hold the borescope with just one hand. That benefit left our other hand free to use the controls to select options for camera and video capture, as well as gave us the flexibility of use our free hand to easily guide the insertion tube into the entry points, an important feature to have.”
Zugschwert also mentioned that with video borescopes they’ve used the in the past, classified as “snap-on videoscopes,” the fiber optics are a lot larger, so it’s much harder to get into tighter spots. The VJ-ADV works well for getting into small spots, and the screen is large enough to clearly view the area being inspected.
Additional reactions provided by students Jason Carpenter, Aaron Foster, and Charles Birewirth were as follows:
- The quality and definition of the camera was exceptional in observing the fuel nozzles and turbine nozzles with their multiple cooling holes.”
- The clarity of the screen combined with the ease of thumb controlled brightness adjustments was extremely beneficial in finding a large stress crack in the cooling ring.
- Dust built up was discovered on the lens; however, the cleaning kit accompanying the borescope worked very well.
The student’s wrapped up their review of the VJ-ADV by stating: “Thank you for the use of this wonderful unit as it is a perfect tool for aviation inspections.”
RF System Lab is glad that they were able to provide the students of MIAT’s aviation program a chance to demo a high-end articulating video borescope. RF System Lab is a supporter of continued education and a believer in the importance of providing students with the same tools that they will be utilizing in their future careers such as the VJ-ADV video borescope. Enhancing hands-on experiences like the ones offered at MIAT’s aviation program is extremely important to the future of the aviation maintenance industry.