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Are Composite Planes the Future?

February 5th, 2015

Many industries are looking for ways to improve their carbon footprints, and the world of aviation is no exception. Lighter aircraft, leveraging composite materials, is one way aeronautic engineers are helping the environment through their innovative research. One study predicts that if the world’s entire stock of aircraft used composite materials, it would reduce carbon emissions by a factor of 15 percent.

Let’s take a closer look at how some engineers are researching the use of composites in aircraft design to save fuel and ultimately reduce carbon.

British Universities study Life Cycle of Composite Airplanes

That 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions noted above comes from the results of a study conducted by the UK-based Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge and University College London. Researchers analyzed data from a comprehensive life cycle assessment of composite aircraft, including the Boeing Dreamliner 787 and Airbus 350. This data was then extrapolated to take into account a worldwide fleet.

The original assessment covered everything from a plane’s manufacture through its normal usage period, and finally its disposal. The study-derived data was compared to standard aluminum-based aircraft models. While emissions are higher for composite planes during their construction, this is more than made up by their 20 percent fewer carbon emissions during flight compared to aluminum planes.

Professor in Advanced Materials Technologies at the University of Sheffield, Alma Hodzic, commented on their findings. “This study shows that the fuel consumption savings with composites far outweigh the increased environmental impact from their manufacture. Despite ongoing debates within the industry, the environmental and financial savings from composites mean that these materials offer a much better solution,” said Hodzic.

The aircraft industry as a whole hopes to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by the end of this decade. The use of aircraft created with composite materials is one of the methods that will help achieve this goal.

If innovations in aircraft design inspire you to further your career in the world of aviation, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing companies in Washington State, we remain a great source for Seattle aeronautic engineering jobs. Schedule some time with us today!

Aerospace Design Tactics to create Light yet Effective Machinery

December 2nd, 2014

Antifragility is a concept where an entity actually gains from suffering an adverse event. As an example, consider the mythological beast, the Hydra, who is able to grow back two heads when one gets chopped off. Applying antifragile techniques to aircraft design brings the potential for safer airplanes with the improved ability to react to catastrophic events when they occur.

Let’s take a closer look at these engineering innovations aimed at improving passenger safety.

Supporting an Iterative Design Process

The iterative nature of the aircraft engineering design process reflects antifragility concepts when it comes to terms like “fail-safe” and “damage tolerant.” As engineers work their way through testing aircraft designs, the parts of a design that work are retained, while failures are removed. This iterative process is known as stochastic tinkering.

Testing remains a vital aspect of the stochastic tinkering used in aerospace engineering. The worse case scenarios must be tested and retested, while engineers document the in-stress performance of components that must not fail compared against those other components which can fail due to the redundancies that were part of the aircraft’s initial design.

Visual Inspections still Important in the Aircraft Industry

Even when leveraging design techniques like antifragility and stochastic tinkering, certain airplane components can incur a certain level of structural failure while still maintaining flight safety and security. In these situations, it is important that any critical damage is visible to airplane inspectors performing a pre-flight check up.

Additionally, when performing load testing, it is vital to increase the load factors to account for the potential of catastrophic events — both known and unknown. Still, it is up to the aerospace engineer to analyze the cause of any catastrophe and feed what they learned back into that same design and testing process. Safe flight using antifragile aircraft is the ultimate goal of this engineering discipline.

If you are inspired to improve your aerospace engineering career, talk to The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in Washington, they are a great source of Seattle aerospace engineering jobs. Make it a point to talk with The Talley Group today!

Efficient Aerospace Methods to keep Planes in the Air

October 8th, 2014

There aren’t many industries that value safety more than the world of aerospace. Aviation engineers spend rewarding careers formulating and developing new innovations improving aircraft efficiency and ultimately creating a more secure environment for both passengers and crew.

As the aviation industry continues to expand and carrying more travelers and cargo, improving safety in an environmentally sustainable fashion is a prime directive of many aerospace engineering programs. What follows is a look at one engineering program’s attempt to find non-destructive methods to improve aircraft maintenance and safety.

The A*STAR Aerospace Program offers Innovations in Aircraft Maintenance

Researchers and engineers at the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) are developing methods to detect aircraft components in need of repair earlier than previously possible. Their hope is to lessen the cost of aircraft maintenance while increasing passenger safety. Leveraging non-destructive methods to find defects also saves time and money.

One major problem with aircraft is when water seeps into the body. A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology’s Dmitry Isakov is leading a project to detect water in aircraft components before it adversely impacts performance during flight.

“Water always finds the easiest way to get in, which is around discontinuities such as joints and bolts. Once inside, the water expands and contracts as it freezes and melts, damaging structures, causing corrosion and increasing the aircraft’s weight,” said Isakov.

Detecting Water with a Vacuum

The engineers leverage a vacuum to detect water in an aircraft’s body. The vacuum causes the water to boil at room temperature with a resultant fast cooling detectable using thermal imagery. “Water detection using my vacuum method requires just one technician, is fast and highly sensitive, and there is no ambiguity with the sealant,” added Isakov.

This improvement in fault detection makes maintenance both more accurate and more inexpensive — a perfect result for an engineer.

If these aviation engineering innovations inspire you to take your career even further, talk to the talented staff at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in the Northwest, they are a great source of Seattle engineering jobs and timely career advice. Schedule a meeting with them today!

Successful Use of an Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft

September 10th, 2014

Aeronautics and the world of aviation innovation remain one of the most intriguing engineering disciplines. Obviously, Seattle — home to Boeing and many other airplane manufacturers — is a great place to be for aviation engineers. The growth of autonomous unmanned aircraft is yet another example of innovative engineers raising the bar for the industry as a whole.

Let’s take a closer look at aviation engineering and its use for unmanned aircraft.

Integrating Drones into Today’s Civil Air Space

Introducing unmanned aircraft into the current modern civil air space is one of the biggest remaining challenges for aviation researchers. In fact, a new report from the National Research Council notes key barriers to drone integration while recommending a plan of action to solve any pressing issues.

John-Paul Clarke, associate professor of aerospace engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, co-chaired the NRC committee that wrote the report. “There is little doubt that over the long run the potential benefits of advanced unmanned aircraft and other increasingly autonomous systems to civil aviation will indeed be great, but there should be equally little doubt that getting there while maintaining the safety and efficiency of the nation’s civil aviation system will be no easy matter,” said Clarke.

Unmanned Aircraft Development on the Increase

The work of Clarke’s research team is becoming more important, as more and more drones enter the public airspace. Applications for these unmanned aircraft include crop dusting, traffic monitoring, and even fighting forest fires. One of the major technical barriers involved in air traffic control with drones is predicting their flight paths based on the drone’s autonomous reactions to current conditions.

Other potential issues involve regulatory and certification policies for unmanned aircraft, in addition to social considerations, like privacy and safety concerns. Still, the world of autonomous unmanned aircraft provides another growing arena for interested engineers to leverage their creativity and intellect.

If the exciting world of aviation engineering inspires you to take your career to a higher level, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in the Northwest, they remain a great source of Seattle engineering jobs. Schedule some time with them today!

Supersonic: the Future of Aerospace Careers

August 13th, 2014

If you are lucky and talented enough to be an engineer in the aerospace industry, prepare for a supersonic explosion of career opportunities, as faster than sound flight looks to be making a comeback. The demise of the Concorde saw the end of supersonic passenger air travel, but some engineering innovations look to bring this state of the art aviation technology back into the mainstream.

Supersonic Speeds coming to Business Travel

One of the main reasons for the failure of the Concorde was its high maintenance costs, which, when combined with declining passenger numbers, caused the business model supporting the jet to falter. There isn’t as much investment risk with the smaller jets used in business travel, so this is the area earmarked for a supersonic travel renaissance.

The Boston-based aerospace engineering firm, Spike Aerospace, is developing a supersonic jet capable of making the trip from New York City to London in 3 to 4 hours — half of the 6 to 7 hour travel time when using a subsonic jet. Vik Kachoria, Spike Aerospace’s founder, noted the growing market demand for faster business travel.

“A supersonic jet will help businesses manage operations and make investments more dynamically. It will bring them closer to their customers, more often. The current fastest jet around for business use is Gulfstream G650, which can go at Mach .875. Our aircraft is designed to fly at 1.6 mach, which is twice the speed of any other aircraft out there, hence reducing the air travel time to about half,” said Kachoria.

An Option for Aircraft Rental Services?

The new business jet, known as the Spike S-512, is expected to retail from $60-80 million, and will carry anywhere from 12 to 18 passengers. With that price, it wouldn’t be a surprise if aircraft rental companies, like NetJets, purchase the model to enhance their service offerings to business travelers.

If these innovations in supersonic aerospace engineering inspire you to take your career to the next level, talk to the recruiting experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in Washington State, they are a great source for Seattle engineering jobs. Give them a call or send them an email today!

Washington State has the Highest Paid Aerospace Engineering Jobs

June 13th, 2014

With the Seattle metropolitan area being home to Boeing and a host of smaller manufacturers supporting that aeronautics industry giant, there is no surprise that Washington State boasts the highest average salaries for aerospace engineers. A recent report from the Department of Labor confirmed the Pacific Northwest’s dominant position in the world of aviation employment.

Other states on the list included Kansas, with a robust industry centered on Wichita, the rocket industry’s favorite state, Alabama, United Technologies Corporation’s home state of Connecticut, and the Sunshine State of Florida. Still, for aerospace engineers living in the Seattle area, the opportunities for lucrative employment remain abundant.

The Seattle Aerospace Industry continues to thrive

Boeing continues to be at the forefront of the aviation industry, with state of the art innovations in the areas of commercial flight, defense and security, as well as the new frontier of space travel. For aeronautics engineers currently living in Washington State, or those considering a move to the Northwest, the job opportunities are plentiful. This boom period is expected to continue, as the aerospace industry is generally able to withstand the economic downturns that hamper other business sectors.

As mentioned earlier, the power and size of Boeing means that many other aerospace companies supporting that giant are able to thrive in the Seattle metropolitan area. Seattle Aero is an example of this kind of business. They provide aerospace parts and service to Boeing and a host of other aircraft manufacturers all over the world.

There are dozens of aviation industry firms just like Seattle Aero located in Washington State. If you are just getting into aerospace engineering straight out of college or even if you boast a fully-developed career as an aviation engineer, Seattle and Washington are definitely the place to be. It might be time to consider relocating to the area for one of the many available lucrative opportunities.

When trying to find work in the Seattle aeronautics industry, a partnership with an experienced recruiter makes perfect sense. The Talley Company is one of the top engineering staffing agencies in Washington State and a great source of Seattle aerospace jobs, with the knowledgeable recruiters on hand able to help your career take off. Make it a point to chat with them today!

Falcon 9 Rocket | Aerospace Technology System

January 7th, 2013

Space X is the first commercial company in history to visit the International Space Station. The company builds satellites, launchers and other products that are placed safely in space. One of its greatest products is the Falcon launch family of rockets.

Falcon 9 is a launchable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene. Its third flight is the journey that allowed the company to reach the International Space Station.

The Falcon 9 measures 69.2 m or 227 ft in length and 3.6 m or 12 ft in width. Figure 9 is a rocket that can carry spacecraft into the atmosphere by launch.

Designed for maximum reliability, the Falcon 9 runs from two stages and tanks. The first tank is made from aluminum lithium alloy and uses an all-friction stir-welded tank of the highest strength and most reliable welding technique available. The interstage is a carbon fiber aluminum core composite structure, and connects the upper and lower stages.

The second stage tank is a similar, yet shorter version of the first tank, created with the same reliable materials and manufacturing. Since a single engine powers the upper stage of the  Falcon 9, it is made of dual redundant pyrophoric igniters.

The main engine of the Falcon 9 is the Space X Merlin engine. It has a very impressive Sea Level and Vacuum thrust. The system works by propellant feeding into a single shaft, as a dual impeller turbo-pump operating on a gas generator cycle. The pump provides high-pressure kerosene for the hydraulic actuators, which recycles. This eliminates the need for a separate hydraulic system, allowing for greater reliability.

The Merlin is one of the greatest and most powerful engines ever built. It outperforms even the Boeing Delta II’s main engine.

The best part of the Falcon 9 is its penchant for safety. It is not released for flight until all vehicle systems are confirmed to be operating on par. An automatic shut-off occurs if any irregular conditions are detected. This saves those going into space, and the vehicles themselves, from some of the unfortunate disasters various programs dealt with in the past.

You can get one of these pretty toys for $54 million.

The Talley Group believes in working with companies that achieve engineering excellence. Call us today! If you know a aerospace engineer looking for a challenging project, refer an engineer today.

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