Partial discharge identified as the cause of communication blackout between air traffic control and pilots
Eindhoven, Netherlands. 14 September 2021: The Fluke™ ii910 has helped to identify the root cause of communication interference between the air traffic control and pilots at Rotterdam The Hague Airport. The Precision Acoustic Imager was used by leading European electricity transmission system operator, TenneT, to quickly and easily identify a partial discharge issue which was causing a 10-20 second communication blackout between ground staff and pilots.
In January 2021, the Dutch Radio Communications Agency informed TenneT that interference coming from one of the substations it managed and maintained was causing a communication problem between air traffic control and pilots on all incoming flights from the UK. TenneT immediately undertook further investigations to identify the potential root-causes of the interference.
While initial audible and visual inspections showed no abnormal findings, a partial discharge inspection, conducted using the Fluke™ ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager, immediately identified that corona discharge was responsible.
The Fluke™ ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager was developed to help engineers quickly and easily identify and locate partial discharges. The innovative detection tool has a seven-inch LCD touchscreen which overlays a SoundMap™ on a visual image for rapid identification of discharge or leaks between frequencies of 2-100 kHZ. The ii910 provides video recording of up to five minutes and has a battery life of at least six hours. “The Fluke ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager was developed with the end-user in mind,” comments Tako Feron, Product Manager Acoustic Imaging at Fluke Corporation. “Roel Van Hees was part of a working group that helped to test and feedback on the product during its development. Their feedback was invaluable in helping us to address some of the pain points they face on a daily basis, and we continue to work with the group to add new features to the software.”
“The Fluke ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager proved invaluable in helping to quickly and easily identify the partial discharge issue,” says Roel Van Hees, Operational Maintenance Engineer at TenneT. “In the past, we would have had to listen and/or use an ultraviolet (UV) camera, which are slow and inefficient methods compared to the Fluke ii910. With its wide view, the Fluke ii910 enabled us to quickly scan an entire substation and identify the partial discharge places of concern.”
Following identification of the issue, maintenance work at the substation was undertaken to fix the areas suffering from corona discharge. As a result, all communication has been restored between the airport control tower and pilots.
For more information about the new Fluke ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager, please visit www.fluke.com.