It wasn’t just temperatures near 100°F that made this year’s Paris Air Show sizzle. According to its organizers, the 52nd International Paris-Le Bourget Air Show tallied announcements for $150 billion worth of orders, including 897 orders plus purchasing commitments, totaling 934 commercial aircraft. Although the trade show attendance of 142,000 was 6% less than in 2015, the 2,381 exhibitors numbered 3% more than in 2015, representing 48 countries. The 1,415,454ft2 (131,500m2) of combined exhibit area included 340 chalets, 27 national pavilions, and 140 display aircraft. Among the planes making their Paris Air Show debut were Embraer’s E195-E2, KC-390, and Legacy 450; Mitsubishi Aircraft’s MRJ90 regional jet; Kawasaki’s P1 maritime patrol aircraft; and Lockheed Martin’s F-35A fighter jet, which featured in daily U.S. Air Force demonstration flights.
In automated aerospace assembly, computer numerical controls (CNCs) are better able to address complex interpolated motion than programmable logic controllers (PLCs). CNC technologies are finding increased application in complex airframe alignment tooling, robot control, additive machining, fiber placement and tape laying, and 5-axis machining.
As CNC use grows, manufacturers must integrate them into product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing execution systems (MES), and manufacturing operations management (MOM) environments. To optimize production processes, MOM software focuses on efficiency, flexibility, and time-to-market…
Even small improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency can have a large effect on economics and on the environment. Today’s aircraft use roughly 80% less fuel per passenger-mile than the first jets of the 1950s – a testimony to the tremendous impact of aerospace engineering on flight. This increased efficiency has extended global commerce to the point where it is now economically viable to ship everything from flowers to Florida manatees across the globe.
Imagine a sky filled with clean, green, energy-efficient jetliners, powered by electric motors or turbine-electric hybrid engines. Electric storage, distribution, and power technologies are still in their infancy, but recent developments point the way toward this dream.
The experimental Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) demonstrated that a solar-powered, electric aircraft could circumnavigate the Earth – but the slow-flying, high-aspect-ratio wing, single-person vehicle is not a practical model for future air transport. However, the engineering that helped develop SI2 has applications for mainstream airliners.