The use of permanently attached arrays of sensors has made it clear that guided waves can be used for the SHM of structures. The approaches developed have relied on the use of reference signal subtraction to indicate changes to the state of the structure, such as the appearance of damage. The limit of performance of any system is defined by the post subtraction noise.In order to confirm the basic principles at work the majority of this work has been carried out on simple metallic plates. While important to confirm the levels of understanding, this is not sufficient for practical use. This paper looks at the application of SHM techniques in more complex structures, more typical of those any system would be used on in practise. A rib from a BaE 146 aircraft is used to demonstrate the practical difficulties of applying guided wave SHM methods to densely featured structures. A model system comprising a plate with a single stringer is used to demonstrate a method for normalizing signals to give responses directly related to the scattering properties of the change in the system, mitigating the effect of the position of the change, and a method is proposed to generalize the approach to complex systems. Preliminary tests in the region of the stringer are used to identify the experimental challenges to realizing the calibration on complex systems.