Supplier Spotlight

Video Exclusives

Plasma wind tunnel testing

Watch the first simulated re-entry of a full-sized spacecraft in a plasma wind tunnel as the The Scirocco facility tests the Qarman cubesat.

Click here to watch video

18 July, 2018



Sonic boom acoustic tests

This video, from a NASA Social event at Armstrong Flight Research Center, shows an F/A-18 producing a regular sonic boom at 0:43 and and then a low “boom” by performing the dive maneuver at 02:34. NASA researchers are preparing for public tests of technology designed to reduce the noise of sonic booms

Click here to watch video

03 July, 2018



Autonomous vehicles explained

Safran’s SimplyFly! light hearted series of video’s takes on autonomous vehicles - how will they work and what are the main challenges? Learn more about the topic by watching this video.

Click here to watch video

20 June, 2018



 

To watch more videos, click here

With Airbus' Zephyr drone pushing the limits of aviation to reach an altitude of 74,000ft in the stratosphere during test flights, we would like to ask - where do you think the atmosphere ends and space begins?

Industry Opinion

« back to blog listings

A measured approach to decision-making

We spend much money and energy trying to avoid uncertainty: we specify the characteristics of materials and components, test them and certify the results, and insist on evidence that the management systems of suppliers are certified to international standards. All this to control risk and make us more certain that nothing will go wrong or break when it shouldn’t. Define a process, always do the same thing in the same way, and we’ll get the same assured outcome, we think.

That can work well with manufacturing, where the characteristics of the inputs used in the defined process can be controlled, but it doesn’t work when we can’t control the inputs and where what is, just is. Then, if we do exactly the same things to varied inputs, we may be assuring that we get invalid outputs.

In testing, we can’t control what we have to test, or what the end user wants to do with the result. Instead, what we need is for the tester to be competent - which is to say that we want them to produce technically valid results that meet the needs of the user, and we want them to do that consistently across each test they perform.*

But really competent laboratories are never 100% certain about their measurement results, because that simply isn’t possible. Instead, for quantitative results, they evaluate the sources of uncertainty within their measurement system and the item being tested, and provide information on the overall uncertainty and its confidence level with the test result.

For all tests, including qualitative tests, the results derive from the test method used, so that a different method will give a different result. Recognizing that, competent testers are required to establish and state how closely they have been able to achieve the specified method, as the end user needs to decide for themselves whether the risk of applying the result to their own application is acceptable.

For competent testing and calibration laboratories, uncertainty is something to be quantified and stated, not ignored or hidden. If they only report the test measurement and specification limits but not the uncertainty of the measurement, how can it be known whether the material meets the specification? What if the uncertainty of the measurement overlaps the specification limit, so that the result is indeterminate?

Competent engineers need to know how reliable their data is; and competent testers and calibrators will tell them, whether they ask for it or not – how many people know what it is that they don’t know? If your competent measurement supplier isn’t admitting to being uncertain, they should be. If they won’t, you might want to know why not.

* The ISO standard describing what is necessary to achieve this is ISO/IEC 17025:2005, ‘General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories’, and assurance that a laboratory is competent is given by independent assessment and accreditation by a body who is listed as a signatory to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement of ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation). For a signatory search, see www.ilac.org

Peter Kelley, a former senior metrologist at the National Weights & Measures Laboratory and training development manager at the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), will give a speech entitled A measured approach to decision-making at The Institution of Engineering and Technology in London, UK, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 7:15pm. Visit the IET website for more information.

Bio


Peter Kelley began employment in small manufacturing industry before joining the National Physical Laboratory in London, UK, working in engineering metrology. He became senior metrologist at the National Measurement Office (formerly National Weights & Measures Laboratory), then audit measurement officer at the National Measurement Accreditation Service, becoming an assessment manager and principal trainer and training development manager in its successor, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). He has assessed laboratory competence and delivered training and advisory services around the world. Following retirement in 2015, he remains active in consultancy and UKAS commercial training alongside other professional and personal interests.

 

Comments:

There are currently no comments.

If you would like to post a comment about this blog, please click here.
RECEIVE THE
LATEST NEWS


Your email address:



Read Latest Issue

Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusives

Customers appreciate the Global 6000’s smooth ride, but it wasn’t until Bombardier conducted a series of innovative tests that there was quantifiable data to support their claims
Click here to read more

Marine Dumont, business development manager, Kistler Instruments outlines how innovation in dynamometers is enabling clearer images of Earth from satellites 
Click here to read more

Steve Drake, NDT market manager for Ashtead Technologies, describes how the rapid deployment of the latest borescope equipment to Africa helped a business aviation operator make tough decisions about a grounded aircraft 
Click here to read more

Hardware-in-the-loop systems have helped to reduce flight testing of Saab's latest fighter jet, writes National Instruments in this case study
Click here to read more

An experiment is set to be launched from the International Space Station this month which turns the normal approach to space on its head – instead of putting things into space, this experiment aims to test ways to take things out of space. 
Click here to read more


Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the aerospace testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact tom.eames@ukimediaevents.com for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the aerospace testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to anthony.james@ukimediaevents.com

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email ben.sampson@ukimediaevents.com