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 FAA today wrapped up its first symposium focused specifically on managing fatigue in aviation.
FieldTurf, a Montreal-based manufacturer of artificial turf surfaces for sports arenas, is branching out into airport applications for its products. The company claims that its synthetic grass, Air-FieldTurf, is safer than natural dirt or grass for runway and taxiway shoulders, infields and any other area where wind or jet blast could stir up dust and debris that could damage aircraft.
NDT International has developed a smaller, less expensive way of providing C-scan images of bond flaws in composites and honeycomb structures. At just 1.5-lb, BonDetector is smaller than other bond analysis instruments, the manufacturer claims, and provides immediate visualization and interpretation of flawed areas.
Toyota confirmed that the fuselage of its experimental four-seat piston aircraft is a one-piece co-cured (single-molded) unit of a carbon fiber and resin composite material. The aircraft flew for the first time at Mojave (Calif.) Airport on May 31.
The NTSB has called the FAA’s response “unacceptable” to four out of six safety recommendations addressing human fatigue and duty-time limitations.
Buyers of an executive version of the new Airbus A350XWB will have the option of selecting the electrochromic (or “smart windows”) technology from PPG. The windows, developed by Gentex of Zeeland, Mich., contain an organic di-electric gel. When a very low electrical current is introduced, the gel will darken, rendering the window opaque.
LOCKHEED 1329-23E JETSTAR, HOUSTON, TEXAS, MAY 15, 2004–JetStar N57NR sustained minor damage when the left flap assembly detached while the airplane was on approach to Hobby Airport. The airplane was operated by Aircraft Trading Center of Tequesta, Fla. The two ATP pilots and two passengers were not injured.
Epps Aviation, located at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, has been given Cessna authorized independent NDI facility certification. The authorization was granted after a review and on-site audit by Cessna representatives. It allows the company access to all of the equipment and materials needed to perform nondestructive testing on all Cessna Citations.
How much would it be worth to be able to reliably predict the structural failure of any part or component of an aircraft long before any flaw becomes visible? To be able to discover that there would be a structural failure in the top of a fuselage, in a vertical stabilizer or even in a landing gear before there was any visible indication such as a crack?