WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), an industry trade organization for U.S. airlines, in association with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), recognized the recipients of the 2009 FAA-ATA Nondestructive Testing (NDT) "Better Way" award.

The "Better Way" award recognizes a team of government and airline industry individuals who together worked to advance inspection and testing of aircraft structure, components or systems. This award, jointly sponsored by the FAA and ATA, was presented at the ATA Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Forum in Atlanta.

Industry professionals recognized with this prestigious award are: Ed Lukas and Bernie Adamache from Air Canada Jazz; Jerome Pinsonnault, Roy Wong and Jean-Marc Bertrand from Bombardier Inc.; David Piotrowski, John Bohler and John Lee from Delta Air Lines; Alex Melton, Robert Hager and Malcolm Berner from Northwest Airlines (now Delta Air Lines); Dennis Roach, Kirk Rackow and Ciji Nelson from the Airworthiness Assurance Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) Validation Center (AANC); Jeffrey Kollgaard, John Linn, William Jappe and Masood Zaidi from The Boeing Co.; Rick Lopez from Iowa State University; and Mark Vellacott from Structural Monitoring Systems.

This year's winning team, the "Application and Validation of Comparative Vacuum Monitoring (CVM) Sensors for In-Situ Crack Detection" team, was recognized for its accomplishments in the testing, evaluation and validation of a sensor that detects cracks and flaws during the inspection process, particularly in hard-to-access areas. AANC initially teamed with Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines (now Delta Air Lines) and Structural Monitoring Systems (SMS) to study deployment and long-term operation of the sensors. More than two years of flight tests, factors such as environmental durability, sealant protection and reliability were evaluated. As a result of these and other tests, Boeing added this technique to its Common Methods NDT manual. Over the past year, the sensor has been used to monitor cracking on engine mount beams with the participation of Air Canada Jazz and Bombardier. The use of the CVM sensor is the first time that an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has adopted structural health monitoring techniques by using a mountable sensor. The team has proven that this sensor can facilitate a more sensitive, rapid and reliable inspection.

"ATA congratulates this year's winning team for its extraordinary work in the advancement of crack detection inspections, and the industry will benefit from your successes," says ATA President and Chief Executive Officer James C. May. "It is my pleasure to recognize your accomplishment today, as it underscores the critical need for our industry to continue such innovative, collaborative efforts to enhance safety."

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90% of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.