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Aerospace industry - latest news

David Koopersmith

David Koopersmith has been named Philadelphia-based vice president/general manager for vertical lift for Boeing Military Aircraft. He has been vice president of helicopter attack programmes/AH-64 Apache and AH-6 programme manager/senior site executive for Boeing in Mesa, Arizona. He will be followed by Kim Smith, who has been vice president for environment, health and safety in the Engineering, Operations and Technology Division. Koopersmith succeeds Leanne Caret, who is now vice president/CFO for Boeing Defense, Space and Security in St Louis. Chuck Dabundo has been appointed vice president of BMA Engineering in Philadelphia and chief engineer. He has been vice president for cargo helicopters/H-47 programme manager and will be succeeded by Stephen Parker, who has been director of international cargo helicopter programmes. (Item contains no further information.)

Aviation Week & Space Technology, 31 Mar. 2014. p.10.

Stan Deal

Stan Deal has become leader of Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. He succeeds Lou Mancini, who plans to retire. Deal has been vice president/general manager of supply chain management and operations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.(Item contains no further information.)

Aviation Week & Space Technology, 31 Mar. 2014. p.10.

Composites flying high (Part 1)

The use of composites in civil and military aircraft continues to increase. Looks at recent developments at both Boeing and Airbus. Aviation professionals are watching Boeing's Dreamliner closely as it is the first major commercial jet to have a composite fuselage as well as the less exceptional composite wings, empennage, control surfaces, nacelles - an almost fully composite airframe in fact. With issues around composites production, devolved supply chain and overheating lithium-ion batteries now largely addressed, Boeing's main focus is on how a large passenger-carrying reinforced plastic tube will react in the medium term to the rigours of flight - cycling between extremes of altitude and temperature, cabin pressurisation between zero and nine psi, and repeated landing and take-off stresses - plus non-cyclic hazards such as turbulence and electrical storms. Airbus has adopted a different structural concept for fuselage of the Airbus A350XWB. Instead of tape winding barrel sections as Boeing has done, it has opted for composite panels attached to a sub-structure. Repairs can therefore be carried out by removing damaged panels and replacing them. Airbus also continues to deliver its double-deck superjumbo, the A380. The 25% composite content includes GLARE (glass and aluminium reinforced epoxy) panels in the crown of the fuselage.

Reinforced Plastics, 9 Apr. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/oetstxx


Boeing and Saudi Arabian Airlines have signed a collaboration agreement allowing the companies to pursue possible partnership opportunities in the areas of defence and commercial aviation with the aim of generating new business for Saudi Arabia. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.4.

Bombardier jettisons staff

Bombardier Aerospace is to cut 1700 jobs as it tries to cope with delays to its CSeries commercial aircraft and Learjet 85 business jet programmes. The cuts represent 4% of its aerospace division and will affect 1,100 staff in Canada and 600 in the US. The company suffered a 15% fall in orders last year. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.6.


Airbus and Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on research activities, including big data analytics. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.6.

COMAC partners with Airbus

Reports that the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus with sustainability in mind. The partnership will initially focus on new air traffic management concepts and operations, but further projects will be launched 'as the scope of co-operation expands'. The two companies will 'share best practices and identify improvements required by current ATM technology roadmaps' both on board the aircraft and on the ground in a bid to improve safety, efficiency and sustainability. As well as standardised and interoperable air traffic management, other improvements will include optimised take-off, landing and taxiing procedures. However, with COMAC moving into Airbus and Boeing's territory with the development of its C919 aircraft, the company could turn from partner to major rival, in terms of the actual business of aircraft orders.

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.6.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways has selected Messier-Bugatti-Dowty to equip its forthcoming fleet of 787-8 aircraft in wheels and electric brakes. The first 787 is expected to enter service in June. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.8.


Boeing has named Maureen Dougherty as president of Boeing Australia and South Pacific. She succeeds Ian Thomas, who has been named president of Boeing China. Both appointments will be effective by the end of March. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.8.


Honeywell and Inmarsat have finalised the critical design review of the GX Aviation aircraft avionics on schedule. The high-speed, in-flight connectivity service will provide data rates to the aircraft of up to 50Mbps, with the objective of delivering 'home equivalent' high-speed, consistent wireless internet connectivity for passengers and pilots. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.8.

KLM UK Engineering opens recycling centre

Reports that the company has opened its new Aircraft Dismantling & Recycling Solutions Centre in East Anglia. The new facility will ensure that licensed and serviceable aircraft components can be recovered and reconditioned and stored for reuse or sale. KLM UK sales director Dave Spalding said 'we have customers queuing up and we already have four aircraft on site for disposal. Globally the aviation industry has 12,000 aircraft which will need to be scrapped in the next 20 years, so we see huge potential for our new dismantling and recycling facility'. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.9.

Fine Tubes for Airbus and Liebherr

Fine Tubes, a manufacturer and global distributor of precision tubes, is currently producing Grade 9 and Grade 5 titanium tubing for Airbus and Liebherr. The tubing will be used for high-pressure hydraulic systems required for the A380 and for the high-lift transmission systems designed and produced by Liebherr for the A350. Paul Mallet, business development manager aerospace, Fine Tubes, said 'The advantages that titanium offers in terms of weight saving and strength make it an ideal material for high performance aircraft applications and we are seeing a definite increase in its specification by a range of end user'. (Item contains no further information.)

Aircraft Technology, issue 128, p.9.

Boeing reshuffles engineering facilities

Boeing has announced that it is centralising customer support for in-service aircraft at its Boeing Commercial Airplanes Engineering Design Center in Southern California, which currently supports the 707, 717, 727, 757, DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-11 and MD-80/-90 models. Customer support for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 models, as well as commercial product support for the KC-46 Tanker and P-8, will transition from Washington to California by the end of 2015. Of the affected employees in Washington, many will be offered positions with other programmes in the Puget Sound area; others will be able to apply for new positions in California.

MRO Network News, 11th April 2014.

Early days for 3D printing

Additive manufacturing, as 3D printing is also known, allows complex, one-piece structures to be built from the ground up. This eliminates the need for fasteners and other mechanical connections, thereby saving weight and improving fuel efficiency. Airbus is exploring this idea in partnership with China's Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), which is to manufacture test specimens of titanium alloy parts using its laser solid forming technology. A key challenge is to ensure that printed parts are as strong as their milled equivalents. In some cases, that has already been proved: the 787 contains 30 printed parts, while GE wants to print 85,000 fuel nozzles for its forthcoming LEAP engine. That ambition, however, has been tempered by the fact that printing is often still slower than subtractive manufacturing. This may partly explain a recent MRO industry survey by Oliver Wyman, which found that PMA parts manufacturers are more likely to gain from 3D printing than OEMs. Surprisingly, only a fifth of respondents thought airlines would benefit from the technology, despite advantages such as the ability to print spare parts on demand, as one US airline has already done to support an older aircraft model. Nonetheless, most within the industry have indicated that cheaper replacement parts are the main draw of 3D printing, rather than improved parts availability. And, in another sign of 3D printing's immaturity, most people reckon that non-proprietary expendable parts, rather than more complex rotables, will constitute the bulk of the printable spares market in the next five years.

MRO Network News, 14th April 2014.

Need to know: Engineering

GKN has said that sales to the end of March were up 7% year on year, but this was offset by a 6% fall in the reported figure owing to the strength of sterling.

The Times, 16th April 2014, p.40

Embraer's commercial deliveries hit five-year low

Embraer has posted some of its worst quarterly commercial aircraft results since 2009. The Brazilian manufacturer delivered only 14 E-Jets in 1Q 2014, down from 17 aircraft in the same period last year. However, business jet deliveries rose from 12 in 2013 to 20 this year, thanks to demand for Embraer's Phenom 300 jet. Embraer's backlog of orders rose to $19.2bn at the end of March, up $1bn from the end of December. Embraer did not include military aircraft in its results.

MRO Network News, 16th April 2014.

Rolls-Royce buys out Daimler stake

Rolls Royce has agreed to pay €2.43bn (£2bn) to Daimler for the German company's 50% stake in their joint venture, Rolls-Royce Power Systems. In a joint statement the companies said the deal would complete in five months, subject to regulatory approval, and the price reflected the stake's fair market value. Last month Rolls announced that it would take full ownership of RRPS after Daimler decided to exercise a 'put' option that had been agreed when the companies bought the business in 2011 as a joint venture. At that time they agreed to jointly purchase the German industrial-engine producer Tognum for €3.4bn and renamed it RRPS. RRPS, which is headquartered in Southern Germany and employs roughly 11,000 people worldwide, manufactures high-speed diesel engines for the marine, energy and defence industries. Despite selling their stake, Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler's board member for trucks and buses, said that irrespective of the ownership structure, the company would “keep connections to RRPS 'based on our existing supplier relationship'.

The Daily Telegraph, 17th April 2014, p.B3

Snecma (Safran) and Mecachrome sign TiAl blade contract

Snecma (Safran) and Mecachrome have signed the procurement contract for titanium-aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine of the CFM International LEAP engine. The contract was signed at a ceremony attended by Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister for Agriculture, Agrifoods and Forestry, government spokesman and a member of the French parliament representing the Sarthe region. Titanium aluminide (TiAl), an alloy of titanium and aluminium, is a new-generation material with outstanding qualities. Standing up to very high temperatures (750°C), it will cut the weight of a blade in half compared with the nickel-based alloys traditionally used in low-pressure turbines. As part of the new LEAP engine, this alloy will be used for the first time in the world on a single-aisle commercial jet. It will contribute to the excellent performance of this new engine, which offers 15% lower fuel consumption than the best engines now in service. Snecma and Mecachrome developed a special manufacturing process for TiAI blades, and even created a complete production facility. Located at Mecachrome's plant in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, the new production line will require an investment of €60 million and create 150 specific jobs. Volume production will kick off in 2015, with a sharp ramp-up already in 2016, on the way to achieving the planned production rate of one blade every three minutes in 2019.

Aerospace Manufacturing Newsletter, April 2014

Note: TWI's industry news is compiled using external sources. As such, TWI Ltd does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided, and the information does not reflect the views and opinions of TWI Ltd.