A4A/SAE Better Way Award Honors Composite Structure Inspection Training Program

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2017 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, and SAE International, the ultimate knowledge source for mobility engineering, jointly presented the 15th annual “Better Way Award” at the recent Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Forum to a team comprising members from Sandia National Laboratories, the Federal Aviation Administration, Delta Air Lines, NORDAM, and NDT Solutions, Inc. for furthering the science and efficacy of nondestructive testing.

Recognizing the increasing use of composite materials for airplane structure, the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center convened industry experts from Original Equipment Manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier, as well as airlines, and other industry stakeholders to develop improved training curricula for inspectors. The effort assures better training and incorporates physical specimens for hands-on experience.

Members of the 2017 “Better Way Award” team include Russell Jones and David Westlund of FAA; John  Bohler, Robert Hager and Alexander Melton of Delta; Stephen Neidigk, Tom Rice and Dennis Roach of Sandia; Daryl Graham and Jeff Harper of NORDAM; and Larry Culbertson of NDT Solutions.

“A4A congratulates this year’s winning team for their innovative approach toward improving aircraft inspector training, while further strengthening the U.S. airline industry’s world-class aviation safety record,” said A4A Senior Vice President, Safety, Security and Operations Billy Nolen. “Working in partnership, this team of industry leaders reflects our commitment to utilizing the latest cutting-edge technology and innovation through all phases of flight to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience for the 2.2 million customers who fly on U.S. airlines every day.”

A4A’s NDT Forum is marking its 60th year at a four-day conference held in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., where industry leaders met last week to discuss current trends, issues and successes in NDT methodologies. The event featured a number of presentations on achievements and lessons learned about technologies that help ensure the life and safety of aircraft structures by detecting defects well before they can be seen or cause a failure. This year’s topics showcased methodologies associated with composite structures, additive manufacturing and new repair methods for older aircraft models.

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Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. Airlines fly more than 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.

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