A LEAP of Information may benefit Aviation in Congress

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The future of aviation depends on technology development; as research creates new materials, refines the design of engines and powerplants, creates higher performing (measured in terms of speed, stability, quiet and consumption) systems and the like, air transportation improves. As new products, like the GE LEAP engine, are announced, much of the text of the press release focuses on those technical details, correctly so. Not so this Hamilton, Ohio Journal-News; the reporter takes a different, but equally important tact.

Instead of reviewing the technical, engineering performance parameters, this article defines the dimensions of the LEAP’s local economic impact. The numbers are impressive:

· An “investment in excess of $300,000,000 in local construction including:

o A new test engine facility to handle higher production volumes in Peebles,

o the Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center opened at University of Dayton, and

o a consolidated Additive Development Center opening in West Chester Twp. to study new materials”

· GE has 15,000 local, well paid employees on its payroll and thousands more of jobs are attributable to the company’s supplier supply chain

· Beyond SW Ohio, GE has opened up new facilities for the LEAP at:

o “seven new facilities have been announced since 2007 for production.

o Sites include the first manufacturing plant for mass production of ceramic matrix composites near Asheville, N.C.;

o also the first additive manufacturing plant in Auburn, Ala.;

o a Dayton research center for studying electrical power systems; and

o a plant under construction in West Lafayette, Ind., for final LEAP assembly.

o Other new sites are in

§ Batesville and Ellisville, Miss.; and

§ Greenville, S.C.”

Based on GE’s success with other engines, 3,296 in 2012 to approximately 3,740 in 2014, the future is even brighter. The CFM 56 powerplant, according to the company, has been the best-selling commercial jet engine and they anticipate that the sales for the LEAP, for which all product to be manufactured in 2016 and 2017 will break that record. “’If (GE) can pull it off, it sets the business for the next 10, 15, 20 years,” GE spokesman Rick Kennedy was quoted as saying of the new engine launches.’”

Why should such economic information be well publicized? Aviation is a high profile industry. It receives considerable attention about its impact on the environment and that publicity is frequently neither positive nor accurate. The information contained in the Journal-News will now be known by a large percentage of the citizens of this region. Hopefully, when these same voters read some diatribe about aircraft noise, the message of how important GE is to their economy and the Billions which the company has invested in improving LEAP’s and other powerplants’ environmental performance. Such a foundation may help aviation receive fairer review by Congress.

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