The GKN Aerospace exhibit at NBAA this year focuses on the current and future technologies that the company is offering the business aviation market. GKN Aerospace provides safety critical wing structures for many aircraft types and has recently gained a life of programme contract to design and build the moveable surfaces for the wing of Dassault’s next generation super mid-sized (SMS) business jet. Looking to the future, GKN Aerospace is researching on a number of fronts across metallic and composite structures with the focus being extending wing performance, reducing weight and lowering emissions whilst manufacturing these high performance structures at greater speed and lower cost.
GKN Aerospace also supplies winglets for a range of aircraft including the Bombardier C Series. The integration of state-of-the-art winglets onto business aircraft will make a significant contribution towards achieving demanding performance goals. Composite winglets, such as those being developed by GKN Aerospace, are transforming aircraft performance, reducing wing drag and bringing block fuel savings for aircraft operators of up to six percent - with consequent reductions in aircraft emissions and improvements in payload, range and performance. Developments underway include fully integrated single piece structures that promise further significant improvements in performance and cost.
GKN Aerospace is also promoting its ice protection capabilities to the business aviation community, with advanced electro-thermal systems already supplied for a variety of airframe and aero-engines. Company research is currently examining the potential of fibre optics technology as well as exploring improving electro thermal techniques and ice detection technologies for smaller airframe applications. Expertise in advanced coatings derived from the company’s transparencies operation is also being exploited with research into ice phobic coatings for future wing surfaces. The Company’s transparencies business leads the global market with its CrystalVue II proprietary coatings technology. This technology offers 3 – 4 times the service life of any uncoated acrylic window, significantly reducing maintenance requirements, down time and cost of ownership. Coatings research underway is exploring new dimmable and conductive coatings that will increase passenger comfort and safety. Lightning resistant and damage detection coatings for future airframe structures are also a research area of real potential benefit to the business aviation market.
Rich Oldfield, Director of Technology, GKN Aerospace comments: “The GKN Aerospace differentiator is our ability to apply our leading-edge technological expertise to develop practical, effective solutions to real performance issues. Our aim is to grow the contribution we make to the business aviation market by making a genuine difference to the performance and efficiency of airframes and engines serving this sector.”
GKN Aerospace is the aerospace operation of GKN plc, serving a global customer base and operating in North America, Australia, the Asia Pacific and Europe. With sales of GBP1.5bn, the business is focused around three major product areas - aerostructures, propulsion systems and transparencies, plus a number of specialist products - electro-thermal ice protection, fuel and flotation systems, and bullet resistant glass. The business is equally split along military and civil lines with significant participation on all major aircraft programmes today. GKN Aerospace is a major supplier of complex composite structures; offers one of the most comprehensive capabilities in high performance metallics processing and is the world leading supplier of cockpit transparencies and passenger cabin windows.