Michael Mecham

Michael Mecham
Airbus Addressing Demands Of Rising Production Rates 

Airbus has two major development programs underway and eight years of orders to fill. So it is understandable that as concrete begins flowing on its fourth A320 production site—the first in the U.S.—it is using a proven layout as it focuses on keeping its assembly lines humming.

“We really need the supply chain to run like clockwork,” Airbus North America President and CEO Barry Eccleston told an audience full of suppliers at Aviation Week’s Civil Aircraft Manufacturing (CAM) conference last month. “We are looking for faster decision-making.”

Automated 777 Line Delivers Big Improvements
Boeing taps automated systems to support 777 production
Melding Units To Form UTC Aerospace Systems 

Globally, aerospace and defense merger and acquisition activity has been slow for quite awhile, but Curtis Reusser and Mike Dumais have had plenty to do. They have been heading integration teams for the exception to that rule—the new business unit created by United Technologies' $18.4 billion purchase of Goodrich Aerospace last September.

Boeing Completes Battery Fix 

Boeing says it has completed all 50 of the retrofit installations of battery containment systems on 787s that had been grounded for safety reasons. All 50 aircraft are expected to operating revenue service by the end of this week.

NASA Ames Plans Cubesat Ejector Missions 

NASA’s Ames Research Center will test a 10-in. high deployment system that can launch as many as 24 nanosats at once during piggyback rides on two Defense Department demonstration missions.

Rising Production Rates Challenge Airbus
Airbus will start building aircraft in the U.S. in Hamburg style
Bringing Aerospace Work Back To The U.S. 

What a difference a decade makes. In 2000, China's labor rates were a fraction of those for U.S. workers, the dollar was strong, oil prices were relatively low, and the promise of access to the Chinese market had manufacturers hopping to get into China.

Boeing Could Achieve 787 Goal Now That Deliveries Have Restarted 

Boeing’s goal of achieving 60 787 deliveries in 2013 came one step closer this week when All Nippon Airways (ANA) accepted Line No. 83 from the factory in Everett, Wash., the first since the company halted deliveries in January after regulators shut down 787 commercial flights due to battery failures.

Launch customer ANA, which operates the largest 787 fleet, now has received 18 of the 66 aircraft it has ordered. The Tokyo-based carrier is to resume commercial 787 services on June. 1.

Airbus Will Wait For Proof Of Lithium-Ion Battery Technology 

Airbus may consider using lithium-ion batteries on the A350, but will continue with plans to use nickel-cadmium batteries until the lithium-ion technology has established a track record on the Boeing 787, Airbus North America President and CEO Barry Eccleston said May 8 during Aviation Week’s Civil Aircraft Manufacturing Conference in Charlotte, N.C.. Despite the promise of higher power output and lighter weight, Eccleston said Airbus felt the “unknowns” of the lithium-ion technology were too great to use them on production aircraft yet.

Airbus To Start Construction Of Mobile Plant
Is empowering plant managers to assure that supply chain runs smoothly
Advances In Composites—Nix The Autoclave 

Composite airframes were important in defense systems before the Boeing 787 made them a household word.

The basics of building even 80-ft.-long single-piece composite wingboxes have been conquered. The challenge now is to increase manufacturing process rates and reduce production costs, a subject of interest to everyone working in the field, whether on military or commercial programs.

Defense M&A Falling Victim To Fence-Sitters 

One side-effect of the uncertainties of defense spending is a shrinking of mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity as companies hoard cash rather than invest it.

The phenomenon was evident in 2012 and is not limited to the U.S., an analysis by consultants PwC shows. Data extrapolated from the first quarter of this year shows an annual rate of just $6 billion in M&A activity in the aerospace & defense (A&D) sector worldwide compared to a 10-year average of $20 billion.

Simplifying Hardware To Liberate Satellite Users
Inexpensive satellites little bigger than a Rubik's Cube have been the provenance of university and small research projects for more than a decade. Increasingly, innovations from the smartphone world are showing how these classroom projects can play outsized roles in space science.
Rolls Buys Longtime Composites Supplier 

ROLLS BUYS: Rolls-Royce has bought Hyper-Therm High Temperature Composites of Huntington Beach, Calif., a supplier of heat-tolerant composite materials for gas turbine engines. Terms were not disclosed. Hyper-Therm specializes in ceramic matrix composites (CMC). Rolls is expected to apply the technology to new and existing civil and military engines.

Boeing’s Battery Fix Preserves 787 Systems
Boeing says no diversion needed in new 787 Li-ion battery design
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