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AVSC 1010 Lecture 11 - Lecture 11 Aircraft Design...

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Lecture 11 Aircraft Design & Manufacture The design and manufacture of an aircraft is one of the world's greatest technological arts. It combines precision, ingenuity, science, and art in ways seen in few other fields. The aircraft requires designers and manufacturers to set new standards of safety and perfection every time a new design is made. It is probably no surprise that there are relatively few large design firms left in the world today. Tried and true designs, such as the Boeing 737 or the General Dynamics F-16 Falcon, last for 20-30 years of production and at least 40 to 50 years of useful life. Douglas DC-3's manufactured in the 1930's and 40's are still flying today. The Design Process The process of designing an aircraft demonstrates the importance of maintaining quality and precision throughout the production of an aircraft. Most firms follow these steps: 1. Design or production firms, such as Boeing, evaluate the market for new civilian or military aircraft and identify needs not currently met by existing aircraft. 2. Design firms verify that the company's own research and development efforts or the combination of efforts between the firm, other firms, and government agencies (such as NASA), can produce improvements over existing aircraft in cost-effective ways. Companies may choose to pursue further research and development to produce new solutions to problems such as weight reduction or increased safety. 3. Firms develop a basic concept of an airplane. The basic concept may be refined over a period of several years with basic models produced on computer or paper. The company may issue press releases about the concept to elicit potential customer response and feedback. 4. Firms visit potential customers again with the basic concept and ask for refinements and suggestions. In the case of the Boeing 777, Boeing received tremendous input from airlines such as United, British Airways, and dozens of other major airlines during this secondary design process. 5. Firms obtain financing for the initial development of the project and prospective orders from initial customers. Few aircraft are launched today without at least 100 firm orders. The Boeing 777 required billions of dollars in investment from Boeing before the first aircraft was ever delivered to United Airlines. The same principle is true of even the small aircraft, though in much smaller dollar figures. 6. Firms design the aircraft and its thousands of parts using a combination of computer aided design, use of existing parts, and outsourcing of parts, such as wheel designs, engines, avionics, and other subsystems. Designers work on large network systems to enhance cooperation between aeronautical, electrical, and other design engineers. 7. Production orders are placed and the firm begins production of the first few models of the aircraft. Previous work in wind tunnels and computer testing now provide firms with a reduced development time where otherwise they would have been forced to develop scaled models.
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