Michael Mecham

Michael Mecham
Articles
NIAR Explores Advances In Composites Technology
Bombardier gains flexibility from infusion composite technology
Spirit AeroSystems Considers Investment For Increased Production 

Boeing and Airbus have backlogs bulging with orders and would like to see production rates increase. The question is can their supply chains meet the schedule and quality marks needed.

“We have to think through whether we want to go for higher rates,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner recently said. Airbus is in the same cautious position of not wanting to let its desire for higher rates exceed its supply chain’s capacity.

Still, the pressure to get aircraft out the door faster is relentless.

Studying The Sun’s Dramatic Temperature Variations 

Spaceborne study of the Sun has produced spectacular images like these over the years, but still leaves much about our nearest star cloaked in mystery. Now an ultraviolet (UV) telescope with unusually high spectral bandwidth will try to solve one of the most puzzling—why temperatures vary so dramatically between the Sun's surface and the upper limits of its turbulent atmosphere.

Orbital’s L-1011 Drop-Launches NASA’s IRIS Solar Satellite 

SAN FRANCISCO — NASA reports “a great insertion orbit” for its newest orbiting telescope for studying the Sun’s dynamic temperature bands, which was drop-launched from a former airliner off the central California coast at 7:28 p.m. PDT June 27.

Manufacturing Challenges For Deep Space 

It is a golden instrument, in more ways than one. NIRcam, the Near-Infrared Camera for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is wrapped in a gold insulating foil, the better to maintain its operating temperature of 35K (-397F). But it also will play a golden role for the three other instruments on the $8 billion mission, which is to put astronomy's largest orbiting observatory into service in 2018.

Boeing Begins Manufacturing Work On KC-46A 

With what is traditionally a first “piece” for a new airplane, Boeing’s workers loaded the wing spar for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A tanker into jigs at its widebody headquarters in Everett, Wash., on June 26, marking the start of major assembly work that should lead to a first flight a year from now.

The Ongoing Process For Higher Output 

Boeing and Airbus have backlogs bulging with orders and would like to see production rates increase. The question is can their supply chains meet the schedule and quality marks needed.

“We have to think through whether we want to go for higher rates,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said as the Paris air show got underway last week. Airbus is in the same cautious position of not wanting to let its desire for higher rates exceed its supply chain's capacity. Still, the pressure to get aircraft out the door faster is relentless.

Cessna Sets Up For Boom Times
Cessna Aircraft has set an ambitious agenda
Airliners Becoming $4.8 Trillion Market 

There's no big surprise in the 2013 edition of Boeing's Current Market Outlook, its 20-year forecast. Aggregate numbers for the total value the market will reach in 2032 and the orders expected by then—$4.8 trillion, and 35,000, respectively—have inched up a bit from the 2012 forecast, by $300 billion and 1,000 aircraft.

Boeing Shifting Supplier Roles For MAX 

Boeing's 737 MAX development team expects to achieve a firm configuration of the more fuel-efficient single-aisle transport in July. The company is so confident about production that it is hinting the airplane's service entry may inch forward from the current plans of fourth-quarter 2017.

Boeing Pushes Lean For MAX 

As it prepares for the 737 MAX, Boeing is adding more automation and fuselage buildup capacity at its Renton factory south of Seattle. But it is keeping options open for the transition of the new airplane into the existing 737 Next Generation final assembly line.

Boeing’s Steep Learning Curve 

Big shows are made for big news, and while there is no golden rule in the air transport business that says new product launches are best saved for major air events, Boeing hopes this year's gathering at Le Bourget will be the perfect venue for the go-ahead of the 787-10X.

Spirit Undertakes Strategic Evaluation 

In early April, when Larry Lawson arrived at Spirit AeroSystems, the company had completed a quarter with earnings, revenues, operating margins and deliveries that exceeded analysts' expectations. So the new president and CEO began his tenure with a built-in lift from the previous year's troubles—a $590 million pre-tax charge for failing to meet delivery and cost targets—that prompted his arrival.

FTC Reluctantly Goes Along With Rocketdyne Acquisition 

Despite the fact that the deal creates a monopoly for certain advanced propulsion systems, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said June 11 that it will not challenge GenCorp’s acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for about $550 million.

Approval was given “primarily because the Department of Defense wishes to see the transaction go forward for national security reasons,” the FTC said.

Despite Dip In Cargo Demand, Boeing Continues To Increase Sales Forecast 

In a $4.8 trillion punctuation point to a trend it has been highlighting for several years, Boeing says airlines are increasingly focused on the middle of the market.

The numbers come from the latest edition of its Current Market Outlook, Boeing’s 20-year forecast, which predicts that 35,000 aircraft will be purchased through 2032, an increase of 1,000 aircraft over last year’s $4.5 trillion prediction.

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