On a recent Thursday morning, I went to New York for a plant visit. I live in Chicago, so instead of my usual drive, my morning commute was a two-hour flight. It was a short trip: one taxi picked me up at 6:30 a.m. and another one took me home 12 hours later. Though I only spent a few hours with the company, I considered the trip a success because I learned a lot and-no small miracle when flying out of O’Hare airport-both flights were on time.

Since I usually spend my days at a computer, writing, editing and, of course, checking e-mail, it was a good opportunity for me to get out into the world of nondestructive testing (NDT). Despite manufacturers’ best efforts, sometimes the truly innovative products don’t seem that way on paper. But, when I get the chance to meet the people behind it and see their excitement-or exhaustion-the product comes to life. It is much easier to appreciate their profession and understand their work when the engineers are sitting across the table.

And with today’s global economy, it is possible to live in Chicago (or Charlotte) and meet people from Albuquerque working on orders from an airline company in Istanbul or visiting clients from Kiev. When everyone has the same goal in mind, the world of NDT becomes smaller and much more manageable.

For those of you who would rather get your NDT information in one convenient package, that’s where we come in. Although it may not be as exciting as an in-person visit, it provides a cheaper alternative to flights, without the jet lag or weather delays.

This issue covers thickness measurement, eddy current, microscopes and videoscopes, along with alloy identification and analysis. It also includes applications with real-world examples, along with NDT news and products. This is the next best thing to visiting each product and company in person. But, for an opportunity to meet many new people and discover new products in not much time, conferences can help. The Quality Expo, located just outside of Chicago in Rosemont, IL, will be September 25 to 27. As in years past, the show promises to be a busy event worth seeing. The Materials Science & Technology Conference and Exhibition (MS&T) will be held in Detroit next month, September 16 to 20. And if you are interested in not only the Motor City but also Sin City, the ASNT Fall Conference and Quality Testing Show will be held in Las Vegas November 12 to 16. As their Web site says, “What happens here will go everywhere in the NDT industry.”

Nondestructive testing is an amazing business. It has been around for a long time, and this special section aims to help with your NDT and materials test applications. If you can’t wait for the next issue, visit www.ndtmag.com, where you also can sign up for our e-newsletters. Please let us know how we’re doing. After all, I’ll be here at my desk, faithfully checking my e-mail.

Michelle Bangert
Managing Editor