NBAA Convention News

GDC Challenges Conventional Completions Wisdom With Technology

 - November 18, 2015, 7:56 PM
Completions and aircraft engineering specialist GDC Technics is making major investments in various technologies at its Texas facilities in San Antonio and Fort Worth (pictured above). [Photo: GDC Technics]

Completions specialist GDC Technics rolled out an array of new technology developed in-house to provide more advanced options for outfitting and modifying private and business aircraft. The Texas-based group has invested around $30 million in five areas of technology now being collectively leveraged as part of its new “Engineering the Impossible” strategy unveiled at NBAA 2015 on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to challenge the conventional wisdom in designing VIP cabins,” said GDC general partner Mohammed Alzeer. “We deliver airplanes that look as good on the inside as they look on the outside and this means there have to be the latest and greatest technologies adding value to customers.”

By adopting new fabrication techniques and advanced materials, GDC says it is now producing cabin interiors that are around 20 percent lighter than those specified by the airframers themselves. “That can mean additional payload, fuel savings and more range for our customers,” Alzeer told a press conference.

For example, for a VIP Boeing 787, GDC believes it could reduce the overall weight of cabin interiors from just over 50,000 pounds to around 40,000 pounds. Among the techniques used are eliminating heavier metal pins and glues in favor or mortise-and-tenon joints, and also the use of carbon fiber panels weighing about two-thirds as much as earlier Nomex materials.

GDC (Booth N5900) also is now using 3-D printing techniques to make lightweight, precision-crafted cabin interiors and in-flight entertainment components, such as precision-tuned speaker housings. Having invested in advanced 3-D printing machinery, the company is using it to miniaturize certain items in pursuit of further incremental weight savings.

Another aspect to GDC’s innovation is the introduction of its “Sychronicity” 3-D engineering software, which allows engineers in the group’s various locations to work more collaboratively to reduce development times for projects, using the latest Catia V6 platform. “We have linked engineering to program management to more efficiently map out every aspect from design to implementation,” explained Alzeer. “We have to be completely synchronized for STCs.”

At the same time, 3D virtual reality interfaces are now allowing GDC’s designers to show clients exactly, to scale, how their preferences for cabin interiors will look in practice. This can accelerate the process for adjusting designs and ensure that the end product more closely matches the customer’s ideal outcome.

GDC’s efforts to apply higher technology to its completions projects also now benefits from the contribution of its new GDC Engineering subsidiary in Munich, Germany. The aircraft engineering specialist has been directly involved in design work for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.