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Research And Development Of Transport Category Aircraft

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Both Airbus and Boeing are seeking the most appropriate applications of the manufacturing techniques that are very innovative. For instance the Airbus aircraft manufacturing company was the first to introduce the laser beam welding on their civil aircrafts and it has also made use of the other advanced methods.

Source; Gibbs, E. (2004):  Boeing: Japan 7e7 suppliers to also design, fund parts. Retrieved from; http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040402/manufacturing_japan_boeing?1.htm, accessed on 26th November 2007. 

The decision of designing the aircraft

In making the decision on designing the aircraft there is a preliminary design that is established so as further clarify the goals as well as the objectives of the product and it is also very useful in the in the development of the mission evaluation tools and methods. Similarly the preliminary design helps in the definition of the wide range configurations and also the technological options and it also assists in performing the trade studies and also a baseline configuration for the negotiations with customers. The decision making process involves the following tasks;

  • Establishing the objectives
  • The baseline current system performance
  • Performing the mission analysis
  • Development of the operational concepts
  • Analysis of the required performance
  • Performance of the trade studies
  • Planning the system transition
  • The airspace system design tools.

The setting of the parameters

There are several processes that are involved in setting the aircrafts parameters since more parameters have been included since the flight simulator 2000 was introduced. (National Civil Aviation Review Commission 1997):  The parameters include,

  1. The aircraft reaction to contact –the aircraft can be configured as well as be adjusted so that it can react to the various kinds of contacts including the landing gear contact and articulation as well as the steering, breaking and the accrued damage via excessive speed.
  2. The aircrafts flap articulation- in the configuration of the flap articulation the normal flaps extension or its retraction can be specified in seconds. The aircrafts flaps can be severely damaged if it is flown above the airspeed that is indicated and similarly very slow and also inhibited movements may also evidence the aircrafts damage.
  3. The aircrafts exits-the aircrafts exit rate is the percentage per second to open.
  4. The aircrafts folding wings.
  5. The aircrafts arresting gear- This parameter can be configured by the use of the adjust term in increasing and decreasing the tension of the cables adjustments for the aircraft. However the tension of the cables can be automatically configured as per the specific mass of the aircraft and the normal speed approach of an aircraft. Thus the adjust term is correctly used at the default value of 1.0.
  6. The landing signal officer-This parameter looks at the speed at which the aircraft lands on the career deck based on its specific characteristics.
  7. The propeller rotation- in setting this parameter the rotation of the individual player of the flyable aircrafts propeller should be adjustable. Thus the generated thrust by a given propeller is a function of the power delivered through the shaft on the propeller, the RPM, the blade angle, the speed of the aircraft and also the aircrafts ambient density.

The development process

Boeing commercial airplane group is the world’s largest manufacturer of the passenger aircrafts and the company is based in Seattle. The company because of the competitive pressures has adapted to the changing and the diversifying markets thus leading to the embrace of the of the largest process in the development and redesigning of the aircraft globally.

However the key integration tool in the company’s IT solutions is Orbitix. The aircrafts design and development processes need very extensive IT systems so as to be able to support the various systems in the company.  The aircrafts manufactured by both companies have designs which stress a lot on the customer’s affordability without any sacrifices on the characteristics of the exacting performances. (National Civil Aviation Review Commission 1997)

The design teams in the aircraft manufacturing industry are working hard so as to come up with designs which will be cost effective.  The fore body team that is in charge of the forward fuselage starts the assembling process of the fore body. The availability of the aggressive implementation of the CAD, CAE, and the CAM technology enables the team to work very effectively within the given time scale.

The fore body team also ensures that every part of the fore body is uses the solid master models in the whole development process from the conception of the design to the assembly as well as the fabrication of the parts. The aircrafts fore body is inclusive of everything beginning from the aircrafts nose tip to the spot that the wings begin and this is inclusive of the engine inlet, the engine bay, the cockpit, the nose landing gear, the in-flight refueling probe and also the underlying mechanical, structural, mechanical and electrical hydraulic and fuel systems.

Source; Gibbs, E. (2004):  Boeing: Japan 7e7 suppliers to also design, fund parts. Retrieved from; http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040402/manufacturing_japan_boeing?1.htm, accessed on 26th November 2007.

However every component of the aircrafts fore body whether old or even new is modeled in the unigraphics and all the structural components of the aircraft are further modeled parametrically so as to permit any last minute changes in the aircrafts design. On the other hand the design team has also taken advantage of the UG/WAVE so that it can speed up an aircrafts design changes in the outer surfaces of the plane since this new technology works throughout the development of the control structure a template which is usually defined at the beginning of the project.

The structural designers then create the control structure which defines the lofted surfaces as well as the centerlines of the fore body’s bulkhead and also their interrelationships. If any changes are made on one bulkhead then the other affected centerlines and the surfaces are automatically updated and this results in saving time dramatically.

Many parts of the aircrafts fore body are machined integrally and the machining is done in line with the solid geometry that is created in the unigraphics.  Since the two dimensional drawings have been completely eliminated the approach of the drawingless model   is a very key timesaver and it does not only eliminate the long process of preparing the Boeing drawings but it also allow the suppliers to efficiently deliver the parts faster than they could have delivered in the past events.

In addition to the creation of the individual models in the aircrafts fore body the design team also assembles the fore body by using the unigraphics the assembly of the various components is structured by the designers who plan the interactions of the subsystems.

The certification process

In the aerospace industry the aircrafts have to receive certification from the international organization for standardization (ISO) 14001, which is an environmental certification that covers all the production sites of the airline and also the airlines products all the way through their lifecycle.

  1. The familiarization meeting.

This is meeting which is set to establish the partnership with the applicant and it also provides a good opportunity in the development of the mutual understanding of the type certification process as applied to the applicants design. This meeting is highly recommended as the applicant begins the certification process. (National Civil Aviation Review Commission 1997)

  1. The formal application.

The applicant’s formal application for the type certificate includes the cover letter, the three view drawing, and the form 8110-2. However the information on the application form is used by the ACO in the development of the certification program notification to the accountable directorate.

  1. The preliminary type certification board.

This is the first formal meeting whereby the project team collects all the data concerning the technical aspects of the project and also the applicants proposed certification basis as well as the other identified information so as to start on the development of the certification project plan. The board similarly identifies the items on special attention.

  1. The certification program plan.

The certification program plan addresses the following issues;

    • The basis of the proposed FAA
    • The certification basis of the FAA including the requirements on noise and also the emissions
    • The issue papers
    • The excemptions,special conditions, and the equivalent levels of the safety findings
    • The means of compliance
    • The checklists and schedules of the compliance
    • The usage of the designees and the delegations.
  1. The technical meetings.

These meetings are held throughout the project and they include the specialist and the interim type certification meetings which cover a variety of subjects. The team members in these meetings could take the following tasks.

  • Approving the test plans and also the reports
  • Reviewing the engineering compliance findings
  • Closing out the issue papers
  • Reviewing the conformity inspections
  • Reviewing the minutes of the board meetings
  • Revising the plan of the certification program
  • Issuing the new policy guidance of the FAA.
  • Reviewing the limitations of the airworthiness
  • Reviewing the continued airworthiness instructions.
  1. The pre-flight type certification board.

The pre flight type certification board center discusses the applicant’s flight test programs and this includes the conformity inspections as well as the engineering compliance determinations.

  1. The type inspection authorization.

In the preparation of the FAA form 8110-1 the type inspection authorization authorizes the conformity and also the airworthiness inspections and the in-flight tests so as to meet the certification requirements. The type inspection authorization is issued to the applicant when the examination to the technical data required to the type certification is completed or when it reaches a point where it appears that the product can meet the pertinent regulations.

  1. The conformity inspections and the certification flight tests.

The conformity inspections ensure that the aircraft conforms to the proposed design for the type certification. The flight tests are also conducted according to the requirements of the type inspection authorization. (Boeing 2005)

  1. The aircraft evaluation group determinations.

The aircraft evaluation group works together with the certification engineers as well as the FAA test pilots so as to evaluate the maintenance and the evaluation aspects of the certified products through the activities such as;

The flight standardization board

The flight operations evaluation board

The maintenance review board.

  1. The final type certification board.

After the applicant has met all the certifications requirements then the ACO schedules the final type certificate board and the board wraps up any items which are outstanding and they also decide on the issuance of the type certificate. (Corliss 2005)

  1. The type certificate.

This certificate is issued when the applicant has finally completed the compliance demonstration with the basis of the certification. Similarly the type certificate datasheet is a major part of the type certificate and also the documents as well as the conditions and the limitations in meeting the requirements by FAR.

  1. The post certification activities.

This activities includes the TIR, (type inspection report), CSR (certification summary report) and the PCE (post certification evaluation). The type inspection report covers all the inspections and also the test authorized by the TIR showing the aircrafts compliance with the FAR and it is completed within the 90 days of the issuance of the unique technical requirements.

Ordering the aircrafts

The air crafts are ordered by the different airlines as well as other individuals who want to have their own planes. On the other hand some aircrafts are ordered by the multinationals organizations that use them for their business operations such as the transportation of their goods from one destination to another. (Billson 2004)

Similarly some aircrafts are ordered by the shipping companies so as to carry out their global shipping activities. Aircrafts are ordered in single units and they can also be ordered in bulk for instance an airline can make an order for a fleet of airplanes or they can only request for few units.

Selling the aircrafts

The manufacturing companies for the aircrafts can directly sell the aircrafts to the companies or even individuals who have ordered for them and they can do this directly or they could use agents in the selling process. This means that the agents act as the intermediaries to the aircraft manufacturing companies and they further help the manufacturing companies to find more buyers for the aircrafts.

Similarly the aircrafts are sold to people and various companies such as the airline companies after the completion of the certification process which is very costly as well as time consuming. An aircraft that has not been certified cannot be sold thus all the aircrafts which are sold have the certification certificate for the safety measures. (Anthony 1998)

Calculating the development costs of an aircraft

There are many factors which are put into consideration in the calculation of the development costs. The cost model approach generates the estimates of the development and the manufacturing costs given the technical parameters as specified in the performance model. (Lagace2004). The cost characteristics of an aircraft include the effects of the commonality between the different airframes and thus both the development and the manufacturing costs of an aircraft will highly depend on

  • The technical parameters of the aircraft.
  • The technical parameters of the other types of aircrafts which have already been designed.

Similarly the development cost model includes the aircrafts preliminary design, the detail design, tooling, designing, and certification as well as testing.


Anthony, W. (1998): A Requirements-Based CNS/ATM Architecture. World Aviation Conference, Society of Automotive Engineering and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Anaheim, CA.

Billson, K, (2004): Part Makers in Japan are Crucial for Boeing. The New York Times, March12,

Boeing (2005): The Boeing Company. Retrieved from; www.boeing.com, accessed on 26th November 2007.

Corliss, R, (2005): Japan only making the ‘box’ for 787 wings. Herald Net, February 9,

Gibbs, E. (2004). Boeing: Japan 7e7 suppliers to also design, fund parts. Retrieved from;

http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040402/manufacturing_japan_boeing?1.htm, accessed on 26th November 2007

Lagace, P. (2004). Interview on commercial aircraft composite technology. MIT, Cambridge, MA,

National Civil Aviation Review Commission (1997): Avoiding Aviation Gridlock: A Consensus for Change, Washington DC, NCARC, retrieved from; http://www.awgnews.com/faa/faa.htm, accessed on 26th November 2007.

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