In most industrial countries, the aerospace industry is a cooperation of public and private industries. For example, several countries have a space program under the command of the government, such as NASA in the United States, ESA in Europe, the Canadian Space Agency in Canada, Indian Space Research Organisation and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in India, RKA in Russia, China National Space Administration in China, SUPARCO in Pakistan, Iranian Space Agency in Iran, and Korea Aerospace Research Institute(KARI) in South Korea. Along with these public space programs, many companies produce technical tools and components such as spaceships and satellites. Some known companies involved in space programs include Boeing, EADS, Lockheed Martin, MacDonald Dettwiler and Northrop Grumman. These companies are also involved in other areas of aerospace such as the construction of aircraft.
The field of aerospace has been investigated for millennia, but modern aerospace began with the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers. From there, aerospace has grown to be one of the most exciting, diverse, and fast paced fields of today. From the hot-air balloons of 18th century to the first wood-and-cloth plane of Wilbur and Orville Wright to the first manned mission to the moon on Apollo 11 to the new and exciting aircraft being developed by companies like Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier.
Aerospace manufacturing is a high technology industry that produces "aircraft, guided missiles, space vehicles, aircraft engines, propulsion units, and related parts". Most of the industry is geared toward governmental work. For each Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), the US government has assigned a CAGE code. These codes help to identify each manufacturer, repair facilities, and other critical aftermarket vendors in the aerospace industry. In the European Union, aerospace companies such as EADS, BAE Systems, Thales, Dassault, Saab and Finmeccanica account for a large share of the global aerospace industry and research effort, with the European Space Agency as one of the largest consumers of aerospace technology and products. In the People's Republic of China, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Nanchang are major research and manufacture centers of the aerospace industry. China has developed an extensive capability to design, test and produce military aircraft, missiles and space vehicles.
Despite the cancellation in 1983 of the experimental Shanghai Y-10, China is still developing its civil aerospace industry. In India, Bangalore is a major center of the aerospace industry, where Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the National Aerospace Laboratories and the Indian Space Research Organisation are headquartered. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched India's first Moon orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, in October 2008. In Russia, large aerospace companies like Oboronprom and the United Aircraft Building Corporation (encompassing Mikoyan, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev, Yakovlev, and Irkut which includes Beriev) are among the major global players in this industry. The historic Soviet Union was also the home of a very major aerospace industry. The United Kingdom formerly attempted to maintain its own large aerospace industry, making its own airliners and warplanes, but it has largely turned its lot over to cooperative efforts with continental companies, and it has turned into a large import customer, too, from countries such the United States. However, the UK has a very active aerospace sector, including the worlds largest defence contractor in the world, BAE Systems, supplying fully assembled aircraft, aircraft components, sub-assemblies and sub-systems to other manufacturers, both in Europe and all over the world. In the United States of America, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are the two largest consumers of aerospace technology and products. Others include the very large airline industry. The aerospace industry employed 472,000 wage and salary workers in 2006. Most of those jobs were in Washington state and in California, with Missouri and Texas also important. The leading aerospace manufacturers in the U.S. are Boeing, United Technologies Corporation, and Lockheed Martin. These manufacturers are facing an increasing labor shortage as skilled U.S. workers age and retire. Apprenticeship programs such as the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Council (AJAC) work in collaboration with Washington state aerospace employers and community colleges to train new manufacturing employees to keep the industry supplied. Important locations of the civilian aerospace industry worldwide include Washington state (Boeing), California (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc.); Montreal, Canada (Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada); Toulouse, France (Airbus/EADS); and Hamburg, Germany (Airbus/EADS); as well as São José dos Campos, where the Brazilian Embraer company is based. Canada has formerly manufactured some of its own designs for jet warplanes, etc. (e.g. the CF100 fighter), but for some decades, it has relied on imports from the United States to fill these needs. However Canada still manufactures some military planes although they are generally not combat or fighter planes. France has continued to make its own warplanes for its air force and navy, and Sweden continues to make its own warplanes for the Swedish Air Force—especially in support of its position as a
neutral country. (See SAAB.) Other European countries either team up in making fighters (such as the Panavia Tornado and the Eurofighter), or else to import them from the United States. Pakistan is also undertaking advancements in the field of aerospace engineering. It is now fulfilling its needs in the guided missile technology. After the establishment of the Institute of Space Technology, Pakistan is looking to advance in space technology. Currently Pakistan specializes in aircraft design and manufacturing. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra,Pakistan is one of the Largest Aircraft Manufacturing facility in Asia and has the world's seventh largest assembly plant. JF-17 Thunder, MFI-17, MFI-395, K-8 and many unmanned aerial vehicles are being manufactured at PAC. The aircraft parts industry was born out of the sale of second-hand or used aircraft parts from the aerospace manufacture sector. Within the United States there is a specific process that parts brokers or resellers must follow. This includes leveraging a certified repair station to overhaul and "tag" a part. This certification guarantees that a part was repaired or overhauled to meet OEM specifications. Once a part is overhauled its value is determined from the supply and demand of the aerospace market. When an airline has an aircraft on the ground, the part that the airline requires to get the plane back into service becomes invaluable. This can drive the market for specific parts. There are several online marketplaces that assist with the commodity selling of aircraft parts.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Overview
The Boeing Company's Everett, Washington Factory is where Boeing 747s, 767s, 777s, and the new 787 Dreamliner are built. Located on the northeast corner of Paine Field, it is the largest building in the world by volume at 13,385,378 m3 (472,370,319 cu ft) and covers 399,480 m2 (98.3 acres) Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) is the world leader in commercial aviation because of its complete focus on airplane operators and the passengers they serve. Boeing products and services deliver superior design, efficiency and support to airline customers and allow passengers to fly where they want to go, when they want to go. By working together with supplier partners from around the world, Boeing has delivered more than 15,000 airplanes to customers worldwide including airlines, leasing companies, governments and private firms. But customers who choose Boeing acquire more than great airplanes - they also gain access to the industry’s most complete selection of aviation support products and services. Organization - Boeing Commercial Airplanes, with headquarters in Renton, Wash., is under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Carson. It is organized into three primary business units – 787 Program, Airplane Programs and Commercial Aviation Services – as well as providing Airplane Trading services. Commercial Airplanes is also a vital presence and a good corporate citizen in the communities where its employees live and work around the world. The 737 – the world’s best-selling commercial airliner – is the most advanced family of singleaisle airplanes on the market today. The 737 is offered in four sizes: The 737-600 can carry 110 to 132 passengers; the 737-700 accommodates 126 to 149; the 737800 can seat 162 to 189; and the largest model, the 737-900ER, is capable of carrying up to 220 passengers. A convertible freighter version and an extended-range version of the 737-700 also are available. While these new airplanes retain the characteristics that made earlier 737 models so popular – reliable, simple and economical to operate – they underwent dramatic revisions including a brand-new wing design, improved fuel capacity and increased aerodynamic efficiency, leading to increased range and speed.
The 737 family’s range is approximately 3,200 nautical miles (5,926 kilometers), an increase of up to 900 nautical miles (1,667 kilometers) over earlier 737 models. This allows U.S. transcontinental flights and increases 737 route capabilities throughout the world. The 737 family also can cruise at a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet (12,497 meters) compared with 37,000 feet (11,278 meters) for earlier models. The popular twinjets are powered by new CFM56-7 engines produced by CFMI, a joint venture of General Electric Co. of the United States and Snecma of France. The engines meet community noise restrictions well below Stage 4 levels. Drawing inspiration from the 777, the 737 passenger cabin is updated with contoured walls and ceilings to create a spacious feeling and greater stowage capacity. In the flight deck, large liquidcrystal displays are complemented by industry-leading display and flight-management software that reduces flight delays and enhances safety and flight-crew efficiency: Vertical Situation Display, which shows the current and predicted flight path of the airplane and indicates potential conflicts with terrain, and the Head-Up Display (HUD), which provides ―eye-level‖ flight and safety information. The factory includes a BECU branch, 5 Tully's Coffee stands (1 of which is in the delivery center), and several cafés. Across the airport to the northwest is the The Boeing Store, a theater, and Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, which runs factory tours.
Production The first 271 737s were built in Seattle at Boeing Plant 2, just over the road from Boeing Field, (BFI). However, with the sales of all Boeing models falling and large scale staff layoffs in 1969, it was decided to consolidate production of the 707, 727 and 737 at Renton just 5 miles away. In December 1970 the first 737 built at Renton flew and all 737s have been assembled there ever since. However not all of the 737 is built at Renton. For example, since 1983 the fuselage including nose and tailcone has been built at Wichita and brought to Renton by train. Also much of the sub-assembly work is outsourced beyond Boeing. Production methods have evolved enormously since the first 737 was made in 1966. The main difference is that instead of the aircraft being assembled in one spot they are now on a moving assembly line similar to that used in car production. This has the effect of accelerating production, which not only reduces the order backlog and waiting times for customers but also reduces production costs. The line moves continuously at a rate of 2 inches per minute; stopping only for worker breaks, critical production issues or between shifts. Timelines painted on the floor help workers gauge the progress of manufacturing. When the fuselage arrives at Renton, it is fitted with wiring looms, pneumatic and airconditioning ducting and insulation before being lifted onto the moving assembly line. Next, the tailfin is lifted into place by an overhead crane and attached. Floor panels and galleys are then installed and functional testing begins. In a test called the ―high blow‖, the aircraft is pressurised to create a cabin differential pressure equivalent to an altitude of 93,000 feet. This ensures that there are no air leaks and that the structure is sound. In another test, the aircraft is jacked up so that the landing gear retraction & extension systems can be tested. As the aircraft moves closer to the end of the line, the cabin interior is completed – seats, lavatories, luggage bins, ceiling panels, carpets etc. The final stage is to mount the engines. There are approximately 367,000 parts on a 737 NG. The present build time is now just 11 days (5,500 airplane unit hours of work) with a future target of 6 days (4,000 airplane unit hours of work). In Dec 2005 a second production line was opened to increase the production rate to 31 aircraft a month. By 2007 there was a three year waiting list for new 737s, and an order backlog of over 1,600 aircraft. A third production line is under construction dedicated to the MMA order. After construction they make one flight, over to BFI where they are painted and fitted out to customer specifications. It takes about 200ltrs (50USgallons) of paint to paint a 737. This will weigh over 130kg (300lbs) per aircraft, depending on the livery. Any special modifications or conversions (eg for the C40A, AEW&C or MMA) are done at Wichita after final assembly of the green aircraft. Auxiliary fuel tanks and specialist interiors for VIP aircraft are fitted by PATS at Georgetown, Delaware.
The fuselage is a semi-monocoque structure. It made from various aluminium alloys except for the following parts.
Fiberglass: radome, tailcone, centre & outboard flap track farings. Kevlar: Engine fan cowls, inboard track faring (behind engine), nose gear doors. Graphite/Epoxy: rudder, elevators, ailerons, spoilers, thrust reverser cowls, dorsal of vertical stab.
Different types of alluminium alloys are used for different areas of the aircraft depending upon the characteristics required. The alloys are mainly aluminium, zinc, magnesium & copper but also contain traces of silicon, iron, manganese, chromium, titanium, zirconium and probably several other elements that remain trade secrets. The different alloys are mixed with different ingredients to give different properties as shown below: Fuselage skin, slats, flaps - areas primarily loaded in tension - Aluminium alloy 2024 (Aluminium & copper) - Good fatigue performance, fracture toughness and slow propagation rate. Frames, stringers, keel & floor beams, wing ribs - Aluminium alloy 7075 (Aluminium & zinc) High mechanical properties and improved stress corrosion cracking resistance. 737-200 only: Bulkheads, window frames, landing gear beam - Aluminium alloy 7079 (Aluminium & zinc) Tempered to minimise residual heat treatment stresses. Wing upper skin, spars & beams - Aluminium alloy 7178 (Aluminium, zinc, magnesium & copper) - High compressive strength to weight ratio. Landing gear beam - Aluminium alloy 7175 (Aluminium, zinc, magnesium & copper) - A very tough, very high tensile strength alloy. Wing lower skin - Aluminium alloy 7055 (Aluminium, zinc, magnesium & copper) - Superior stress corrosion. See also fuselage page for further details about fuselage structure.
Many components are not built by Boeing but are outsourced to other manufacturers both in the US and increasingly around the world. This may be either for cost savings in production, specialist development or as an incentive for that country to buy other Boeing products. Here is a list of some of the outsourced components:
Fuselage, engine nacelles and pylons - Spirit AeroSystems (formerly Boeing), Wichita. Slats and flaps - Spirit AeroSystems (formerly Boeing), Tulsa. Doors - Vought, Stuart, FL. Spoilers - Goodrich, Charlotte, NC. Vertical fin - Xi'an Aircraft Industry, China. Horizontal stabiliser - Korea Aerospace Industries. Ailerons - Asian Composites Manufacturing, Malaysia. Rudder - Bombardier, Belfast. Tail section (aluminium extrusions for) - Alcoa / Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing, China. Main landing gear doors - Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, Taiwan. Inboard Flap - Mitsubishi, Japan. Elevator - Fuji, Japan. Winglets - Kawasaki, Japan. Fwd entry door & Overwing exits - Chengdu Aircraft, China. Wing-to-body fairing panels and tail cone - BHA Aero Composite Parts Co. Ltd, China.
Production Article from Boeing:
Boeing Commercial Airplanes performs major assembly of all 737s at its factories in the United States; however, parts for the airplanes come from suppliers all over the world. Assembling a 737 is a complex job. Factory employees must take 367,000 parts; an equal number of bolts, rivets and other fasteners; and 36 miles (58 kilometers) of electrical wire; and put them all together to form an airplane. The fuselage, or body of the airplane, is produced at a Boeing plant in Wichita, Kan., in the American Midwest. At that facility, employees attach the nose section of the airplane's fuselage to the center and tail sections. When the fuselage is complete, it is strapped aboard a railroad car for a 2,175-mile (3,500-kilometer) train ride across the United States. When the train arrives at the Renton factory, the fuselage is transferred to a large cart and wheeled to the final assembly building, where it spends about 13 days. During the first stage of final assembly, factory workers focus on the interior. In the same way carpenters might finish the inside of a house, they install insulation material along the inside walls of the fuselage, then add wiring and plumbing. When the fuselage is ready to move to the next stage of production, an overhead crane located 89 feet (27 meters) above the floor lifts it high into the air and gently places it down into its next position. Here, precision tools are used to install the landing gear and the two wings, making the structure look like a real airplane. At this point, the 737 can roll along the factory floor and take its position in the moving production line. Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line to automobile manufacturing a century ago. Boeing became the first commercial airframe manufacturer to use the concept to build jetliners when first the 717, and then the 737, production lines were transformed into a moving line. The moving line helps reduce the time to assemble the airplane and also cuts inventory and production costs. The 737s on the line move continuously at a rate of 2 inches (5 centimeters) per minute; the line stops only for employee breaks, critical production issues or between shifts. Timelines painted on the floor help workers gauge the progress of manufacturing. Near the beginning of the moving line, an overhead crane lifts the 23-foot-high (7-meter) tailfin into place so it can be attached. Next, floor panels and serving galleys are installed and functional testing begins. In a test called the "high blow," mechanics pressurize the plane to trick it into thinking it is flying 92,847 feet (28,300 meters) in the air (more than twice as high as it will fly in service). Then, inspectors make sure there are no air leaks. In another test, large yellow jacks lift the 154,983pound (70,300-kilogram) airplane into the air so employees can try out the landing gear retraction system.
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As the airplane moves closer to the end of the line, the rest of the interior is completed lavatories, luggage bins, ceiling panels, carpets, seats and other essentials are installed. Right before the 737 exits the final assembly factory, mechanics attach the jet engines. Once assembled, the airplane is towed to a hangar for painting. About 50 gallons (189 liters) of paint are used on an average 737; the paint weighs approximately 300 pounds (136 kilograms). When painting is complete, the airplane is ready for a Boeing test flight - one last step to make sure the 737 is ready to fly passengers. After Boeing test pilots fly the airplane, the customer's airline pilots take it for a test run. When the customer test flight is complete, the 737 is ready for delivery to its new owner. And one more plane is added to the roster of 737s flying the skies worldwide.