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Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are being introduced into aircraft engines because of their ability to resist heat, as well as their ability to resist dust and debris in difficult environments, such as those in the Middle East. Although CMCs have been utilized on military aircraft engines, GE is pioneering the use of CMCs on commercial aircraft with the GE9X for the 777X. The GE9X, which will be used on the Boeing 777X, has a larger diameter than the fuselage of a Boeing 737.

What is a CMC? CMC parts are made from silicon carbide ceramic fibers aligned in a ceramic matrix that are then covered with a proprietary heat-resistant coating — essentially a ceramic fiber reinforced ceramic. These lightweight components, which have one-third the density of typical metal alloys, are more heat resistant and require less cooling air. This enables higher temperature operations and increased thermal efficiency for an engine,… Continue reading

The news that Ray Conner is being replaced at the helm of Boeing commercial comes as no surprise. Since January last year there was a definite sense of inevitability following the rise of Dennis Muilenburg as CEO.

It is logical and expected that Mr Muilenburg would surround himself with his own team and begin to shape it to begin moving forward with his own strategy. To that end, it became clear that Mr Conner and Mr Muilenburg were not singing the same tune for the past few months.

The appointment of Kevin McAllister to replace Mr Conner is the latest phase in what we would call the “financialization” of the Boeing company. Namely, a gradual migration away from core industrial activities towards a more balanced portfolio of production and service capabilities. This gradual shift had been initiated under the leadership of Jim McNerney and will now extend fully into the… Continue reading

Visiting EAA’s AirVenture gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is both a treat and an amazing experience. Especially doing so after having just been to Farnborough. The contrast is tremendous. At Farnborough the place is full of professional avgeeks.   Aviation is something that people outside the industry cannot understand. People inside the industry have a passion about the business. At EAA that passion reaches a new level. There only a few professional avgeeks, here the majority are not professional and many fly their own aircraft to the event. People camp under the wings of their planes. People seem to camp everywhere and anywhere they find space. This may be the Woodstock of aviation. Continue reading

Last Thursday, a Pratt & Whitney PW1500 geared turbofan engine had a major failure that was partially contained. The engine failure damaged the engine nacelle and fuselage of the CSeries test aircraft FTV1, with no apparent damage to the wing nor any fuel leaks.  The engine, the oldest engine in service in the Bombardier fleet, was undergoing routine ground maintenance testing at the time, with both engines on the airframe, which was held in a static position, running.  Bombardier has suspended its flight test program pending the results of an investigation of why the engine failed by Pratt & Whitney. Continue reading

Reuters reported today that Rolls-Royce announced two new engines; the “Advance” which is expected to be 6% more fuel efficient than the Trent XWB (Rolls’ latest engine) and the “UltaFan” which is expected to be 10% more fuel efficient than the Trent XWB. Continue reading

RTA model 1News from India points to a serious attempt to develop a regional turboprop.  As we have written recently, we see a surge of interest in turboprops, particularly at the 90-100 seat segment.  The planned Indian RTA is in that segment.

However the RTA has been gestating since 2010.  Nothing in India seems to work fast.  The French are still dealing with India on their Rafale – its been going on since January 2012.  If nothing else working with India teaches great patience.  Which is something western business struggles with. Continue reading

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