DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
July 22, 2024
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Aerospace is a technology-heavy business.  But the pace of technology change is accelerating.  Consider just 15 years ago that composites were too expensive and unproven for aircraft structural applications, large geared turbofans were a lab experiment, hybrid cars were new, flip phones were state of the art, and the hard drive on my computer had less storage than my USB thumb drive today.  And technology continues to accelerate at a faster pace.

Airplane programs, on the other hand, should take between 10-12 years from the concept on the drawing board to entry into service.  But a number have missed that goal.  There’s  a lot of technological change that can happen in a dozen years, and some characteristics of a new product may be obsolete before it even enters service.  OEMs today have a careful balancing act as they introduce new technologies and upgrade products.  Some, like LED lighting, are relatively straightforward.  Others, such as building a large piece of an aircraft engine using additive manufacturing, may become “bet the company” decisions if they don’t work.