ASTM E-7 Committee: International Symposium on Acoustic Emission - 1998

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Practical AE Methodology for Use on Aircraft

John M. Carlyle1 and Harvey L. Bodine2
Robert L. Dawes2, Steven S. Henley2, Robert Demeski, Eric v. K. Hill3
Carlyle, J.M, and Bodine, H.L., "Practical AE Methodology for Use on Aircraft", Acoustic Emission: Standards and Technology Update, ASTM STP 1353, S.J. Vahaviolos, Ed., American Society for Testing and Materials, 1998.
The first production use of practical acoustic emission (AE) on aircraft was on the F-111, where more than 240 U.S. and Australian aircraft have been successfully monitored during cold proof testing since 1987. A key factor was the design of an instrument which automatically configured itself at power-on, so that aircraft testing could take place in a highly efficient and reliable manner. The second production use of AE on aircraft was on the VC-10, where an entire fleet of 22 aircraft was monitored 40 times during pneumatic proof pressurization. The monitoring of this large transport required anywhere from 282 to 313 narrowband AE sensors per aircraft. In both aircraft types, numerous significant defects were discovered through AE-based nondestructive testing. Finally, we present on-going in-flight AE research. This new research uses digital waveform processing of wideband AE signals and offers the potential of adding new and complementary capabilities to classical, narrowband AE.
1 Carlyle Consulting, 1009 Buckingham Way, Yardley, PA 19067
2 Martingale Research Corporation
3 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Aerospace Engineering Department, 6100 Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3900


  1. Carlyle, J.M., Research on Acoustic Emission Testing of the F-111 Aircraft, Final Report, P.O. 1207011, General Dynamics Corporation, Fort Worth, TX, September 1987.
  2. Carlyle, J.M., "AE Testing the F-111", NDT International, 22, 2, 67-73, April 1989.
  3. Carlyle, J.M., Acoustic Emission Testing of XV108, a Vickers VC-10-C1, Final Report, P.O. AS-824015, British Aerospace (Commercial Aircraft) Ltd., Airlines Division, Woodford, England, May 1990.
  4. Carlyle, J.M., VC-10-C1 Acoustic Emission Testing Procedure, Phase Report, UKDPO Contract G5759, U.K. Ministry of Defence, London, England, November 1991.
  5. Carlyle, J.M., VC-10 AE Review, Final Report, Contract ASF/20660L, Defence Research Agency, Farnborough, Hampshire, England, September 1996.
  6. Bodine, H., Dawes, R., Henley, S., Hill, E. v. K., Automatic Detection and Classification of Cracks in Complex Structures - Applying the Parametric Avalanche to Acoustic Emissions, American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Proceedings of the ASNT Spring Conference, 1995
  7. Bodine, H., Dawes, R., Henley, S., Hill, E. v. K., Detecting Crack Growth in Metal Structures using Temporal Processing, Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering (ANNIE), 1995

NOTE: Some of the material in this paper was based on work sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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