What is a visual inspection?


A visual inspection is a recurring procedure in aviation Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) to ensure the aircraft’s airworthiness. Over 75% of inspections on large transport aircraft are visual. It is the process of using the naked eye at an arms length to inspect and detect visible anomalies that might pose a risk to the continued safe operation of the aircraft.

general visual inspection

The four types of visual inspections


The walkaround inspection
is a general check to assess the overall condition of the aircraft and its compliance with the safety standards. It is performed by a human inspector by walking around on the ground below the aircraft, as the name suggests.

The general visual inspection (GVI)
is carried out routinely to inspect, locate, and evaluate any visually obvious damage, failure, or anomaly. For most areas, the human inspector requires additional equipment, such as ladders and cherry pickers. GVI’s report damages, and the results of manufacturing errors or component fatigue.

A detailed visual inspection (DVI)
consists of an intensive examination of a specific area, component, or system for the detection of damages. Usually, some tools are required, including the use of a flashlight, magnifying glass, mirrors, or specialistic measuring tools, etc.

A special detailed visual inspection
may be required for damage assessment of a specific item, installation, or assembly.

A manual GVI requires additional equipment


For most areas, the human inspector requires additional equipment, such as ladders and cherry pickers. This means that the inspector needs to climbs up heights, and it means that the GVI has to take place inside a hangar.

general visual inspection
Aircraft Drone Inspections inside a hangar

An automated GVI uses a drone


An automated general visual inspection is performed by a drone. The inspector first uses the drone to automatically capture the desired area, and reviews the photos & other inspection data afterwards.

This can be done outside the hangar


As a drone doesn’t need any additional equipment such as ladders or cherry pickers, it’s not limited to a hangar environment. From a technical point of view, a general visual inspection with a drone can be performed both in- and outside.

From a regulatory point of view drones may or may not be allowed outside the hangar: this depends on local safety regulations.

General visual inspection

We need to prove equivalency


In order for an automated GVI to be compliant, we need to prove its equivalency with a manual GVI. We are currently in the process of of doing that with our partners.


Want to get involved?

General visual inspection

General visual inspection