With the increasing usage of composite materials in the aerospace industry, the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft has become a major challenge. MRO operations for composite aircraft are complex because there are a variety of types of damage that can happen to the composite materials, and there are numerous corresponding inspection and repair methods that may be chosen. For new aircraft that use a significant amount of composites materials such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, cost and cycle time of maintenance are significantly affected by the efficiency and effectiveness of composite materials joining and repair process and inspection. However, current repair and inspection methods are primarily labor-intensive and time-consuming manual operations. In this study, a new method for assisting in composite aircraft inspections based on a vision-based technique was proposed to improve the aircraft maintenance process. An image-based recognition method and a 3-D augmented reality method will be conceptualized. In the experimental phase, a simulated aircraft component with underlying structures was fabricated with 3-D printing, and a test of identifying the underlying structures was conducted to validate its accuracy. The preliminary results of validation of 3-D augmented reality are provided.
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