Automated assembly of aircraft wings


Even today, aircraft wings are still assembled manually; but this process could soon be automated thanks to a novel snake-like robot capable of tightening bolts in even the most difficult-to-access cavities of the wing structure.

The volume of air traffic has soared in the past few decades, and aircraft manufacturer Airbus expects to see this figure triple by 2030. On a single day, more than 1,300 take-offs and landings are handled by the flight tower at Frankfurt’s international airport. This represents no less than 155,000 passengers who pass through this airport each day. To provide sufficient planes to cover this need for air transportation capacity, aircraft manufacturers will have to modernize their production processes.

Until now, aircraft assembly has involved a high proportion of manual processes, which limits production output. These processes must be automated to increase the rate of production. In certain cases this can be achieved easily, but wing assembly remains a major challenge. Why is this so? The main reason lies in the complicated internal structure of the wings, which consist of a series of hollow chambers. The only access to this space is through narrow hatches with a length of 45 centimeters and a width of 25 centimeters; this makes it extremely difficult for assembly workers to climb through these openings in order to fit the bolts that hold the parts together and seal the joints. This drilling and sealing operation has to be repeated around 3,000 times for each wingbox. This is time-consuming work that demands intensive physical effort that quickly leads to fatigue, not to mention the health risks resulting from the volatile organic compounds released by the sealing materials.

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Social Flight: Pencil Me In


Pilots are social creatures. If somebody’s listening, we aviators are happy to talk about our aerial adventures, and we love to spend time with other pilots, obsessing over modifications, the latest cockpit goodies or comparing notes on techniques and procedures.

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Air India to sell three Boeing 777 aircraft


Air India plans to sell three of its Boeing 777s for mopping up resources to stem its liabilities, according to sources, barely four months after selling five of these planes to Gulf carrier Etihad Airways.

The airline offered three Boeing 777-200 Long Range airplanes, powered with GE 90-110 engines, for outright sale through competitive global bidding, Air India sources said a day after a meeting of its board in New Delhi.

The long-haul global routes flown by these aircraft would now be gradually replaced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which Air India is inducting at a steady pace. 13 of the 27 Dreamliners the airline has ordered have already joined the fleet.

The sale of five B-777s to Etihad in December last year was estimated to fetch over $335 million (Rs. 2,070 crore at 1 dollar = 61.8 rupees), which Air India plans to use to pay off its outstanding debt.

The three B-777s being sold now have a seat capacity of 238, including eight First Class and 35 Business Class seats.

While the commercial bids for these three five-year-old planes would be opened on May 13, the technical bids would be opened at a later date, the sources said.

As part of its turnaround plan, Air India is inducting the Dreamliners and going for a sale and leaseback arrangement to affect major savings. Under such an arrangement, the seller of an asset leases it back from the purchaser for a long-term and continues to use it.

The airline estimates it could raise about $840 million by selling seven Dreamliners and leasing them back. The money earned through the leaseback arrangement would be used to pay off the bridge loans taken against these aircraft.

Sun N Fun 2014 Galeria de Fotos


La República Dominicana estuvo presente en Sun N Fun 2014. La delegación dominicana esta encabeza por el Director del Departamento Aeroportuario Aristides Fernandez Zucco y el Lic.Carlos Leroux, representando a la Comisión Aeropuertuaria dominicana, junto a los directivos del Aeropuerto Internacional de Santiago de los Caballeros, situado en el centro de la República Dominicana, donde operan unas 10 lineas areas diariamente hacia diferentes destinos.

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LAKELAND- 2 DE ABRIL— Las autoridades aeronáuticas y turísticas en la República Dominicana se unieron a la celebración de los 40 anos, de una de las mayores convenciones de aviones privados de los Estados Unidos Sun and Fun en Lakeland Florida, celebrando del 1 al 6 de este mes, con el propósito de promover los destinos turísticos dominicanos y los ocho aeropuertos internacionales con que cuenta esa isla, la de mayor actividad turística del Caribe, que fue visita en el 2013 por 159 aerolíneas de todo el mundo charters, vuelos regulares y turismo de aviones privados.

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