Some may remember the iconic ABC show the Wide World of Sports; it was an entertaining and expanded its audience’s knowledge of athletic competition around the world. As the Jim McKay’s introduction pronounced, to much remembered music:
“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition…”
The introduction of innovation by the aerospace industry matches the energy and enthusiasm captured by ABC—variety, thrill and agony! A few recent advances qualify for the Wide World of Aeronautics:
- Better Believe It! Boeing’s New Metal ‘Microlattice’ Is 99.99% Air— The metal is a microlattice which is made up of a series of tubes in a criss-cross pattern and air gaps between each intersection. Microlattice is considered to be one of the lightest materials known to man. Though it is incredibly light, a small wrap of this material can protect an egg from the impact of being dropped from a 38 story building; bubble wrap would require 3’ of its material to catch the egg without damage. The inspiration for this design was a human bone which is also supported by an interior lattice. The applications in an airplane are limited only by the engineer’s imagination.
That qualifies as variety of aeronautics. Boeing files for more patents again showing the wide nature of research for an aerospace firm. Included:
- Infectious Disease Detection System
- Device for Controlling Stress in Joints at Cryogenic Temperatures and Method of Making the Same
- Jam Protection and Alleviation for Control Surface Linkage Mechanisms U.S. Patent Application No. 20130134262— Ailerons and flaps must be frequently lifted and lowered at crucial moments. A malfunction of these mechanisms would create a problem, but their designs are both jam-tolerant and have redundancies. The most recent version of a system designed to control is called the flaperon. The patented solution is a drive linkage connects two subassemblies that rotate, providing mechanical operation in the event of a failure. This invention may also be applied to folding gear doors and other mechanical assemblies within an airplane
In addition to R&D, aerospace can expand their technology through acquisition. At a time that Boeing forecasts a need for 88,000 new pilots in North America in the next two decades plus 216,000 pilots for the Asia-Pacific region in the same period. Since competent people to fill the cockpit are necessary predicates to selling more planes, the manufacturer bought Germany-based Peters Software‘s ab-initio instructional flight modules and materials for an undisclosed price.
By putting dollars back into the range of technologies which have applicability to flight, these companies assure that aviation can continue to be more efficient, more environmentally friendly and safer. Such innovation creates challenges to the FAA. The certification must have available expertise to assess the airworthiness of these additions to the aerospace arsenal.Share this article: