The interestingly-named Purple Platypus at Booth No. 3409 is not exactly what one would expect to see at a helicopter convention, but the Stratasys 3D printer certainly represents the latest technology. Purple Platypus is a distributor for Stratasys, manufacturer of what it says is the world’s first color and multi-material 3D printer, the Objet500 Connex 3.
Networking is one of the prime reasons for attending Heli-Expo, according to its attendees, and few know networking the way the members of the International Aviation Women’s Association do. Come find out more about IAWA, hear from Sergei Sikorsky and meet current IAWA board members from 4 to 5 p.m. today at the Sikorsky booth (No. 2822).
The EASA has granted approval to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for a BAe 146 part manufactured using 3-D printing (“additive manufacture”) technology. The part is a plastic breather pipe that prevents fogging of cabin windows. The pipes were originally made by injection molding in plastic but the tooling is no longer available. Making new tooling would have cost almost $23,000 and taken several months, followed by two more months to produce the parts, according to BAE.
Solid Concepts has produced multiple 3-D printed components for aerospace applications that it is highlighting at NBAA 2013 (Booth No. N2011).
The company, based in Valencia, Calif., provides rapid prototyping, digital manufacturing, tooling and injection molding to the aerospace, automotive, industrial design and medical industries. It has more than two decades of experience in 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing technologies, producing parts from prototypes to production components by accurately “printing” layers of material until a 3-D form is created.
Looking more like a glider than an airplane, the two-seat, battery-powered eGenius made its first flight on May 25, from Mindelheim airfield in Bavaria, Germany. Designed by the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, the concept aircraft flew for 20 minutes powered by a 60kW electric motor.
Major airframers and component suppliers have instituted new research programs and initiatives to develop electric propulsion for light aircraft. The consensus among the participating parties is that battery and motor technology offering similar performance and endurance of small piston engines is roughly 10 years away.
Rockwell Collins has introduced cabin management controls that will let passengers connect their iPods to the airplane’s in-flight entertainment system. The iPod Solo and Quad stations provide access to iPod music and video libraries through the cabin audiovisual system. As their names imply, the Solo station provides a dock for one iPod or iPhone and the Quad unit slots for as many as four.
Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 5500) is offering two new iPod integration solutions that will allow business jet passengers to use their iPods and iPhones for onboard entertainment.
The new iPod solo station and the iPod quad station offer flexible designs that allow passengers to charge their iPods and access their music and video libraries through the cabin audiovisual system.