by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs
3/9/2015 - 3/6/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The 15th Maintenance Squadron's Nondestructive Inspection Lab plays a critical role in aircraft safety.
NDI specialists conduct inspections of aircraft parts much like a doctor
would inspect someone with a broken bone. They use x-ray and ultrasound
equipment to identify and diagnose defects and cracks without damaging
the aircraft components.
"When you think NDI think aircraft doctor," said Tech. Sgt. Samuel
Djonorh, non-commissioned officer in charge of the NDI Lab for the 15th
MXS. "If you go to the doctor he uses equipment to diagnose what is
wrong. NDI is similar, a part comes into the lab and we don't know what
is wrong, we use our equipment to determent if there is a crack or
damage to the part and if it needs to be replaced or repaired."
In addition to the x-ray and ultrasound, NDI technicians use magnetic
particles, dye penetrant and eddy current to test aircraft parts for
damage and structural integrity.
According to Airmen 1st Class Jose Herrera-Valtierra, nondestructive
inspection specialist for the 15th MXS, the magnetic particles
inspection uses magnetic fields and a magnetic particle compound to
detect flaws in components. The magnet particle compound contains a neon
green dye that glows under a black light, and iron particles that
attach to the components when magnified.
Senior Airman Emily Morrissey, nondestructive inspection specialist from
the 15th MXS, explained dye penetrant inspection is used to identify
surface defects in metals and plastics. Dye penetrant uses a fluorescent
dye that sinks into any defect and highlighting the defect on the
Djonorh said, eddy current is used to examine large areas very quickly,
unlike magnetic particle inspection or dye penetrant, eddy current
doesn't require the use of any liquids. In addition to finding cracks,
eddy current can be used to check metal hardness in components and
However, not all of the NDI technician's work happens in the lab.
"I enjoy when we are up on the wing of the aircraft inspecting a spar or
a panel and you look up to see the entire airfield," said Morrissey.
Additionally, the NDI technicians work with aircraft crew chief,
structural engineer and aircraft metals technology to ensure aircraft
parts are structurally sound.
"I like when we make a big call on a critical part being cracked and we
keep a part that could fail off the aircraft, that is when I really like
my job," said Herraera-Valtierra.