Paints, coatings and materials specialist PPG is providing special windows for the wingtip sensor pods on the Airbus A340 BLADE (breakthrough laminar aircraft demonstrator in Europe) technology demonstrator. Also known as Flight Lab 2, the A340 is being modified by Airbus to test two types of laminar-flow outer wing sections as part of the Europe-wide Clean Sky program. A first flight with the new wings is due in the second half of this year.
PPG has designed and produced windows for the test equipment pods that are mounted on the BLADE’s wingtips. The windows are curved, but need to be lightweight and also have excellent optical quality to allow the test equipment to perform to its full specification. To answer these exacting requirements, PPG is using its Opticor material, which is lighter and of higher optical clarity than stretched acrylic. The company is providing two sets of windows in four shapes.
In the meantime, PPG is flight-testing its WinLogic intelligent cockpit window systems with the aim of securing amended and supplemental type certificates from the FAA. The systems are already authorized to meet Technical Standard Order C178 (and EASA ETSO-C178). WinLogic mounts a small sensing device during the manufacture of the window that can detect electrical arcing in the window heating system and shut it off before the window fails. Heated cockpit windows can develop an emerging electrical failure after years of flying that can culminate in window failure. By detecting the onset of such failures the window can be easily replaced before it fails without affecting flight operations.
Apart from window technology, PPG has received a Safran Innovation Award for its Aerocron electro-coat aerospace primer. The paint is a chrome-free primer that offers better corrosion protection, a more uniform coating and lighter weight, compared with a traditional spray-based primer.
Here at Le Bourget for the show, PPG is introducing a new cordless, hoseless sealant dispensing tool that operates on a 10.8-volt rechargeable battery, using sealant pre-loaded in cartridges. This makes the new Semco model 1250 tool considerably easier to use than traditional units, which require a power cord and supply hose. A single charge is sufficient for around 60 cartridges, and the tool can be fully recharged in an hour.