Washington – NASA research teams have gotten the go-ahead to explore some big ideas that could transform aviation in safe and efficient global operations, ultra-efficient commercial vehicles, low-carbon propulsion, and autonomy.
During a day-long meeting in April, 17 teams pitched their ideas to NASA managers. The ideas ranged from environmentally-friendly electric propulsion that uses an aircraft's structure as a battery, to computer programs that safely allow new airplane designs to go more quickly from concept to use. NASA managers likened the scene to a television reality show in which aspiring entrepreneurs try to sell their ideas to a panel of savvy investors.
"We may find none of these ideas will work," said Doug Rohn, NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program director in the agency's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). “On the other hand, we could learn they look promising and worth additional longer-term investment."
Funded under NASA's Convergent Aeronautics Solutions Project, the studies will run from 2 to 2.5 years. The project teams are made up of NASA employees from a variety of technical disciplines working across the agency’s aeronautics centers in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Each study involves work across multiple centers and disciplines, and directly addresses at least one of NASA’s strategic research goals for aeronautics.
"The idea of the project is this is an investment process, where we're using almost venture capital-like principles. But instead of money, our return on investment is in knowledge and potential solutions to future challenges in aviation," Rohn said.
At the close of the project study period, successful ideas may be picked up and funded for additional exploration through other ARMD programs.
Chicago – The Boeing board of directors has elected Dennis A. Muilenburg the company's 10th chief executive, succeeding W. James (Jim) McNerney, Jr., who held the position for the past 10 years. Muilenburg, who has served as Boeing president and chief operating officer since 2013, becomes president and CEO on July 1, 2015.
McNerney, who joined Boeing's board of directors in 2001, continues as its chairman. To ensure a smooth transition of his CEO responsibilities to Muilenburg, he will continue working as a company employee until retiring at the end of February 2016, and continue advocating on issues important to Boeing's U.S. and global customers, partners and stakeholders, including ongoing Washington, D.C., engagement. Kenneth M. Duberstein, Boeing's independent lead director, continues in that capacity, and Muilenburg has been elected a member of the board.
"Dennis is an extremely capable, experienced and respected leader with an immense passion for our company, our people, and our products, and services," said McNerney, who made priorities of succession planning and leadership development at the outset of his tenure. "As CEO, Dennis will bring a rich combination of management skills, customer focus, business and engineering acumen, a can-do spirit and the will to win. With a deep appreciation of our past accomplishments, and the energy and skill to drive those to come, he is well suited to lead our very talented Boeing team into its second century," he added.
Muilenburg, 51, is a 30-year company veteran. Along with Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Raymond L. Conner, he also has served since 2013 as company vice chairman. Conner, 60, remains in charge of the $60 billion Commercial Airplanes unit and will serve as sole company vice chairman, where he will continue working closely with Muilenburg on key corporate processes and integrating cross-enterprise strategies and efficiencies.
"The opportunity to lead the people of Boeing in service to our commercial and government customers is a tremendous honor and responsibility," said Muilenburg. "Our company is financially strong and well positioned in our markets. As we continue to drive the benefits of integrating our enterprise skills, capabilities and experience – what we call operating as 'One Boeing' – we will find new and better ways to engage and inspire employees, deliver innovation that drives customer success, and produce results to fuel future growth and prosperity for all our stakeholders."
On behalf of the company's board of directors, Duberstein saluted both Muilenburg and McNerney. "We have high confidence in Dennis, who has distinguished his career by taking on tough challenges and delivering results," said Duberstein. "In a decade as CEO, Jim restored the vitality, focus and reputation of a storied American company, and we thank him for his extraordinary leadership and congratulate him on his success," he said.
McNerney, 65, was elected Boeing chairman, president and chief executive officer in 2005. During his tenure, the company recaptured the global lead in commercial airplane deliveries with steady increases in production and a comprehensive update of its product line; maintained a strong position in defense markets despite a downturn in U.S. military spending; restored Boeing's historic leadership in human spaceflight with major new program wins; and expanded its engineering and manufacturing footprint inside and outside the United States.
Boeing's financial performance steadily improved under McNerney, with revenue rising 73% to a record $90.8 billion last year from $52.5 billion in 2004, the year before he became CEO. Backlog and earnings per share tripled over the period, also to record levels.
In his most recent role, Muilenburg shared with McNerney oversight of day-to-day business operations with a focus on the company's growth and productivity initiatives, key customer relationships and leadership-development programs. Prior to that he served since 2009 as president and CEO of Boeing Defense Space & Security, the company's $31 billion, 53,000-person business unit headquartered in St. Louis. Previously, he was president of the unit's Global Services & Support business, and before that, he led Boeing's Combat Systems division.
Muilenburg joined Boeing's engineering ranks as an intern in Seattle in 1985. He earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and a master's in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. He held numerous program management and engineering positions of increasing responsibility early in his career, including on the company's High Speed Civil Transport, F-22, Airborne Laser and Condor reconnaissance aircraft.
Washington – The launch took place at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on June 19, 2015, from a land based ski jump and marks the start of an initial testing phase expected to last two weeks. The trials demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to take off safely and effectively from a ski-jump ramp similar to that which will be used on the UK’s new aircraft carrier. Ski-jump ramps provide the aircraft with an upward flight path meaning the aircraft can take off from the available distance with a greater payload, which means more weapons.
BAE Systems test pilot Pete Wilson said: “It’s always exciting when you get to do something in aviation for the first time. We spend literally years planning these ‘firsts’, with hundreds of hours in the simulator as the event gets close, but even with all the preparation the test team remains focused on the potential that something unexpected might happen. As is usually the case, the jet performed as expected and it was a real pleasure.”
BAE Systems plays a key role in the design, development and manufacture of both the aircraft and the aircraft carrier, and also leads the work to ensure that both are integrated seamlessly for the UK customer. These recent trials continue to inform the F-35 program and the BAE Systems engineers involved in it on both sides of the Atlantic. That includes BAE Systems flight test engineers based in the U.S. and engineers in Lancashire helping to develop and test the latest technologies for the aircraft.
In Warton, Lancashire, UK, the data from the flight trials will be used to further improve the models used in a unique simulation facility. Using the latest cutting edge technologies, engineers have developed a simulator that allowed pilots and engineers to fly the F-35 from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier before either are available. This facility remains at the heart of developing a carrier strike capability for the UK.
Globally, some 3,000 BAE Systems people work on the F-35 program. From the UK, BAE Systems is responsible for the production of each and every rear fuselage and tails set. Along with manufacturing aircrafts sets for each of the three variants, the UK business produces carrier wing tips for the carrier variant and nozzle bay doors for the short take off and vertical landing variant. The Company also plays a key role in flight test, vehicle and mission systems, life support system and prognostics health management integration. BAE Systems Inc. in the US adds further key capabilities to the F-35 portfolio in the areas of electronic warfare, advance apertures, advanced counter-measure systems, vehicle management, and active inceptor systems.
The F-35B is designed to operate to and from aircraft carriers which means being able to operate from very short runways. Although U.S. ships have flat decks, British and Italian aircraft carriers that are planning to operate F-35B incorporate an upward sloped ramp at the end of the runway, which is right at the bow of the ship. The term “ski jump” has been adopted over the years because it invokes a feeling of leaping into the air.
Source: BAE Systems plc
Pasadena, California – Delcam has created a section for technical tips on the website for its FeatureCAM feature-based programming software.
The tips aim to help users with all aspects of programming with FeatureCAM, including milling, drilling, turning, creating geometry, simulation, and generating NC code. Each tip is saved as a pdf file that can be read online or downloaded for future use.
The tips complement the videos that are produced for the FeatureCAM Learning Zone, which demonstrate extra functionality that has been added to each new release of the program.
FeatureCAM feature-based programming software was launched in 1995. Constant development since then has ensured that the system has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use, while an increased range of strategies has been added to provide more efficient toolpaths that give greater productivity on a wider range of machinery.
The FeatureCAM family of software now offers a comprehensive range of programs for milling, turning, wire EDM, and mill-turn, all with the same interface style to minimize training times.
FeatureCAM incorporates Delcam’s machining algorithms, including the Vortex strategy for high-efficiency area clearance. These algorithms are continuously developed by Delcam’s development team, and are used by more than 50,000 organizations worldwide.
Source: Delcam North America
Wichita, Kansas – Spirit AeroSystems Inc. has successfully delivered to Sikorsky the third fuselage section for the CH-53K 'King Stallion' heavy lift helicopter program's System Demonstration and Test Article (SDTA) contract. Consisting of an integrated cockpit and cabin structure with a separately attached tail section, the composite-skinned fuselage will enable prime contractor Sikorsky to begin assembling the third of four SDTA aircraft to further solidify the final production configuration of the CH-53K aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps.
"Spirit AeroSystems is pleased to be a major supplier to a new generation, heavy-lift helicopter capability for the Marine Corps," said Phil Anderson, Spirit senior vice president of Defense Programs. "The strong, lightweight composite structures we are providing to Sikorsky will in turn give the Marine Corps a much needed increase in payload capability."
Sikorsky came under contract to the U.S. Navy in 2013 to assemble and deliver the four SDTA aircraft by 2017 in support of the Marine Corps operational evaluation of the CH-53K platform. Spirit is on contract to deliver to Sikorsky the final SDTA fuselage unit later this year.
The U.S. Marine Corps will employ the four SDTA aircraft to verify the helicopter's design capability to carry 27,000 lb beyond 110nm under "high hot" ambient conditions, tripling the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.
The U.S. Navy has included the four SDTA helicopters within the existing $3.5 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract initially awarded to Sikorsky in April 2006.
From 2011 to 2012 as part of the SDD contract, Spirit successfully delivered to Sikorsky seven fuselage sections from its Wichita, Kansas, facility. Sikorsky has applied those fuselage sections to two non-flying test articles, one ground test vehicle, and four flight test aircraft.
"The CH-53K fuselage is one of the most complex composite structures ever built by Spirit," said Chris Falo, Spirit's CH-53K program director. "Spirit's design and build expertise in large complex composite structures helps us deliver this product to our customer on time and with the highest quality possible."
The Marine Corps intends to order 200 CH-53K production aircraft (including the four SDTA aircraft), and to stand up eight active duty, one reserve and one training squadron to support the Marine Corps' operational requirements.
Source: Spirit AeroSystems Inc.