A version of this article appears in the August 11/18 double issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology. It is 2035, and a customer is taking delivery of not only a new aircraft but also a highly detailed digital model specific to that aircraft’s tail number—its airframe, engines and systems. Built up over the course of design, development, testing and production, and ultra-realistic down to the level of unique manufacturing flaws, the model will accompany the aircraft ...

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