Michael Mecham

United Cautiously Integrates MRO Services
The integration of the United and Continental maintenance organizations proceeds cautiously.
Blue Arc Advancement

At jet engine maker GE Aviation's Hooksett factory near Manchester, N.H., thinking global means adapting someone else's idea to create a winning combination of reduced tooling and production costs for hard-to-machine superalloys.

The story started in 2001 at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y., which passed on some intel from GE Global Research-Shanghai to Mike Lamphere about the way the Chinese were using electric discharge to speed up drilling of machined parts.

First Look at 787 Reveals Surprises 

Several distinctive external features of the 787 were clearly visible for the first time at rollout, including a protruding keel beam, larger air scoops, smaller flight control and flap surface actuators, as well as the smooth butt joints between the adjacent one-piece composite fuselage barrel sections.

MTU Maintenance Zhuhai 

MTU Maintenance Zhuhai incorporated the tools and test cell for overhauling the CFMI CFM56 engine series and International Aero Engines V2500, which accommodates Chinese operators of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. China Southern's initial orders for A320s were powered by V2500-A1 engines, but with the new A319/A320 order, it switched to CFM56-5Bs. That will give it a common engine type with its 737-700/800 fleet. When it opened two years ago, the overhaul center worked on V2500s, a natural choice because MTU is an International Aero Engines partner.

Diversity Shelters Boeing's Portfolio 

Boeing preached the value of product diversity last week as it reported third-quarter net earnings of $375 million on revenues of $12.7 billion a day after it lost the year's biggest order to rival Airbus. Chairman and CEO Philip M. Condit said a 14% increase in revenues from Boeing's Military Aircraft and Missile Systems division helped the company overcome the severe downturn in commercial aircraft, a flat commercial space market and losses in the company's aircraft lending unit, Boeing Capital Corp.

TRW's Streak Continues With Space Telescope Win 

In what is likely to be the last spacecraft built under a name that dates to the early days of the U.S. space program, TRW has been selected to build the Next-Generation Space Telescope. As it announced the $824.8-million contract, NASA continued its practice of naming such large instruments for distinguished space pioneers. Its choice this time was the agency's second administrator, James Webb.

Science Teams Named For SOHO's Successor 

Three instrument teams have been selected for a late-decade mission that will expand on the solar storm research of one of the European Space Agency's and NASA's most productive deep-space observatories--the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) that began in 1995. Called the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the new mission is due for launch in August 2007.

NPOESS Win Gives TRW MetSat Lead 

A contract worth a potential $4.5 billion over the next 16 years has given TRW Inc. the lead in producing U.S. civil and military polar-orbiting weather satellites. Called the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), the spacecraft are to satisfy the daily operational needs now filled by NOAA's Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite (POES) Program and the Defense Dept.'s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). But they also are to serve NASA's long-term commitment to build a continuous stream of climate data.

MB-XX Tests Verify Key Parameters 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Boeing's Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power unit have completed design tests of their MB-XX prototype cryogenic upper-stage engine designed as an option for Delta IVs or the heavy-lift proposals for Japan's H-IIA rocket. The full-scale Combustion Chamber/Injector Assembly tests were conducted at MHI's Tashiro Test Facility at full operating pressure and temperatures. Over the past two years, the team has conducted a series of four tests, the last involving 26 burns, usually of about 20-sec.

GE Breaks Ground On 747 Test Facility 

An aggressive push by Victorville to keep the former George AFB facility occupied has prompted GE Aircraft Engines to relocate its 747 flying testbed activities from its home at Mojave, another of Southern California's desert airport cities. GE began construction Aug. 9 on a 161,700-sq.-ft. aircraft maintenance hangar at what is now known as the Southern California Logistics Airport (see artist's rendering). The airport's offer of a 13.1-acre site and favorable tax incentives prompted the switch from Mojave, where the test-bed aircraft did not have a hangar.

Aerospace's Dot.Com Payoff: `Collaboration' 

Powerful search engines that find great deals. Unheard of suppliers suddenly appearing. Quick-as-a-click mouse connections that put contractors in touch with their suppliers. Goodbye telephone, fax and snail mail. All were part of the Internet revolution that swept across the aerospace and defense industry in early 2000. So were visions of ``independent'' dot.comers transforming the industry's buying habits by freeing airlines, governments and suppliers from the icy grip of major manufacturers. But the winning strategy doesn't include the Lone Ranger.

Airlines' Exchange Is Gaining Traction 

With 13 of the world's biggest airlines as its backers, the Aeroxchange electronic marketplace might seem like a shoo-in for on-line parts deals. But there aren't any shoo-ins in the airline business. Born two years ago as the world's biggest aerospace manufacturers were announcing their own electronic collaboration plans, Aeroxchange was formed with the perspective that airlines are airplane-driven and need their own Internet home.

Exostar's Founders Doing It Their Way 

When four of the world's best known airplane, missile and spacecraft builders announced they were launching a common Web site in March 2000, Wall Street analysts wanted to hear how the Internet would make them money. The answer was to make it by saving it, to use the speedy, ubiquitous Internet for ``frictionless commerce'' to lower procurement costs by ridding the supply chain of time-consuming, labor-intensive paper-based transactions.

Korea's Ambitions Fly 

The T-50 trainer offers supersonic performance, fly-by-wire controls and an integrated avionics/cockpit design. Can it find a market?

When the T-50 Golden Eagle was rolled out here at Korea Aerospace Industries on a sunny October afternoon, the event was more than the debut of an advanced, supersonic trainer. It marked South Korea's bid to be counted among the world's leading aerospace producing nations, just as it is in electronics, shipbuilding and chemicals.

In Asia, They Want A High-Speed World 

While the economic crisis caused widespread political and economic disruptions in Asia, it has had a surprisingly light effect on satellite services.

Satellite launches were curtailed and some satellite programs died, but the long-term effects are expected to be slight. Lockheed Martin Missiles&Space President Peter J. Kujawski called the two-year crisis ``a slight setback'' to the region's fundamental potential for growth in satellites and their services.

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