Testifying before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on air-quality standards for lead, AOPA executive v-p of government affairs Andy Cebula warned that any immediate changes to current aviation fuel standards would have a “direct impact on the safety of flight and the very future of light aircraft in this country.”
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Given the recent sharp drop in shipments of GA piston-powered airplanes, it’s not surprising that some equipment suppliers have begun to look to other markets to boost their bottom lines.
There’s that old saying, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” And if ever there was an ill wind, it’s the one that has been generated by the price of oil and its effect on the airlines. But that same wind is bringing new opportunities to business aviation, with the prospect of expanded operations and the likelihood of added airplanes to the industry’s fleet.
Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne is confident about the future of the French company’s broadening line of Falcons as it ramps up completion efforts for the 7X and prepares to launch its new super-midsize jet. But the pressure of a weakening dollar that is affecting all European aerospace companies is making the company cautious about future models.
Messier-Bugatti (Hall 4 Stand B12) is looking forward to seeing its all-electric braking system on the Boeing 787 when it makes its first flight in the fourth quarter of this year. According to François Tarel, the Safran group subsidiary’s vice president for wheels and brakes, the system received its “safety of flight” approval from Boeing last November, following a series of bench tests.
Complex materials, made of carbon fiber composites and a metal, are tricky to characterize. “We already know that titanium is a better match than aluminum with carbon fiber,” research coordinator Benoît Sagot-Duvauroux said. But now researchers are endeavoring to put numbers on corrosion and dilatation issues, for example. Simulation of real-world operating conditions is the key to success in this work.
Ongoing research into new composite materials is expected to yield major enhancements in performance, weight and cost for the aerospace industry in the coming years. New ways of laying up carbon fiber, such as weaving, are already enabling more complex shapes. Thermoplastic resins are making manufacturing easier, and the practice of integrating several functions into one part is reducing part counts.
The quiet revolution that sped through the airliner supply industry over the past decade has become mainstream doctrine: no longer can subsystems suppliers rely on the lead OEM to assume the design and integration responsibility for their products, at least according to the companies that occupy the upper tiers of the supply chain.
Farnborough International, which organizes this world-famous airshow for parent company the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), may have felt cursed when a freak British heat wave in July 2006 triggered serious power failures as air conditioners struggled to keep temperatures under control.
GKN Aerospace has delivered the first production examples of an entirely new process for creating complex curved titanium structures. The delta pressure forming process is now being used to make the advanced cone-shaped titanium exhaust systems for the Boeing 747-800 airliner. The unit is lighter and more durable.