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If you are an IA or AP technician in the aviation industry, a good-performing, high-quality borescope is essential to your job. Whether your specialty is turbines, recips, airframes or avionics, you need a quality borescope in your toolkit that you can rely on.

Borescopes are used in all facets of the aviation industry, from helicopters to military fighter jets. There’s a reason for that: borescopes are able to inspect confined areas where you cannot easily see to ensure safe and reliable operation of aircraft parts including turbines, airframes, winglets, landing gear, and other confined space areas.

VJ-ADV Russia Aviation

An aviation maintenance technician using RF System Lab’s VJ-ADV on a turbine engine.

Turbine Inspections

One of the essential uses of articulating borescopes is for turbine engine inspection. Turbine engines have many internal rotating sections, as well as combustion chambers, that can be inspected with an articulating video borescope. Borescopes, which can enter directly through an injector nozzle or access port and require no engine disassembly, are able to internally inspect these blades for corrosion, wear, or imperfections such as cracks, which can occur if the compressor section gets too hot. Utilizing a borescope to inspect and maintain any engine helps to ensure that the aircraft is airworthy.

Helicopter-specific Turbine Inspections

Turbine engines in helicopters, or rotorcraft, are located near the main rotor blades, so in order to perform any maintenance on them, professionals usually have to climb scaffolding or a ladder; this is where the features of articulating borescopes, such as RF System Lab’s VJ-Advance (VJ-ADV) video borescope, are extremely beneficial. The VJ-ADV’s compact, portable design and on demand power (the VJ-ADV video borescope simply requires AA batteries – no need to wait for it to charge or make sure there is an electrical outlet nearby), helicopter turbine inspections are completed with ease. In addition, the super-slim 2.8mm VJ-ADV video borescope is a great fit for Main Rotor Gearbox (MRGB) inspections. The thin diameter insertion tube easily allows technicians to check for cracks developed in the welding area between the shaft and bevel gear, ensuring that the MRGB is in working order, and no leaks will occur.

Additional Uses & Staying Safe

recip, VJ-ADV, video borescope, aviation

Finfrock Aviation inspects a recip style engine with the VJ-ADV

In addition to turbine inspections, borescopes have many other aviation-related uses.  As quoted by RF System Lab’s General Manager, Sean O’Connor: “Applications include inspecting airframes, flap tracks, wiring harnesses, and landing gear.” Additionally, borescopes are used in corrosion inspections.” In fact, a borescope can be used on just about any piece of aviation equipment. Borescopes range in size, for instance: the VJ-ADV comes in 2.8mm, 3.9mm and 6.9mm diameters, so finding a size to fit an access port is easily managed.

However, just because a borescope is able to inspect many different parts of an aircraft does not mean that some areas should not be approached with caution. “Special care should be taken when using a borescope to inspect fuel tanks, with proper grounding being very important,” notes O’Connor. “Aside from fuel tanks, as long as the scope is liquid proof and resistant to the common fluids found in various aircraft systems, a borescope can safely be used anywhere.”  Borescope technicians that are approved to sign off on annual inspections certifying airworthiness will have the proper Inspector Authorization (IA) Certification, but making sure to be properly educated on safety precautions when doing any inspection is extremely important.

100-hour Inspections

Another important reason borescopes are crucial to aircraft inspections: they allow maintenance professionals to complete 100-hour FAA inspections, necessary for the majority of aircrafts, with confidence.  100-hour inspections require photographic evidence of internal aircraft structures, which are easily captured by an articulating video borescope such as the VJ-ADV. Without a high-quality borescope to provide documentation, Maintenance professionals could put their license and reputation on the line.

Remote Visual Inspection (RVI) anywhere within an aircraft maintenance facility, or on a flight line, is not a problem with the VJ-Advance video borescope because it is battery powered, completely portable, and lightweight. For more information on the impressive VJ-Advance line of joystick-controlled, fully-articulating video borescopes, or to find out how you can demo the VJ-Advance video borescope for free at your own facility, visit the RF System Lab website or call (888) 747-6526 to speak to a borescope expert regarding your exact inspection needs.

Edward Thomas, RF System Lab borescope expert, arrived in Montreal, Quebec last week and was welcomed with gorgeous weather, a beautiful location, and an abundance of fellow rotorcraft aficionados.  All in all, the American Helicopter Society International 70th Annual Forum and Technology Display, better known as AHS Forum 70, was a great experience.

Booth- AHS Forum 70- RF System Lab- Borescopes

The RF System Lab Booth at AHS Forum 70.

The conference, which promised to be “the biggest and best vertical flight technology conference in the world,” was a gathering of some of the biggest names in the helicopter industry; Pratt & Whitney and Boeing, just to name a few. Thomas had the opportunity to showcase the VJ-Advance (VJ-ADV) video borescope to those in attendance, who were impressed with the versatility and portability it offered.

When he was not providing demos of the VJ-ADV, Thomas was enjoying the conference, as well as doing a little sightseeing and taking in the culture…via attending a playoff hockey game in the Montreal Canadiens’ home arena. Thomas was also excited to get a glimpse of part of the rotorcraft that won the “Human Powered Helicopter Competition.”

The AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was originally issued 34 years ago in 1980. The challenge? To keep a helicopter hovering in the air – three meters in altitude, to be exact – using manpower to fuel the flight.  AeroVelo won the prize of $250,000 in 2013.

Clearly, AHS Forum 70 was a great experience. Hockey, human powered helicopters, networking with leaders in the rotorcraft industry… how could Edward Thomas not have a good time?

If you were unable to test drive the VJ-Advance video borescope at the AHS Forum 70, we would like to offer you a free trial. To make the decision process easy, we offer the industry’s only no-cost, no-obligation demo program so you can evaluate the VJ-Advance line of video borescope in your facility doing your inspections, before you decide to buy.

For more information about RF System Lab and the VJ-Advance (VJ-ADV) video borescope call us at (231) 943-1171 or visit or website www.rfsystemlab.us.