Optimfloor: Composite Seat Tracks for Future Aircraft

The Optimfloor concept is a composite floor structure designed to replace metallic seat tracks by composite stiffeners that are directly integrated into the floor panels. Unlike current aircraft floor panels, Optimfloor says their floor panel is an integral part of the aircraft structure and contributes to the overall stiffness.

The Optimfloor concept is able to support seats as well as galleys, lavatories and most types of furniture utilized in current aircraft. The concept is also applicable to other types of transportation  such as trains and hyperloops.

Optimfloor says their solution offers several key benefits. First, it offers 20% weight reduction per square meter of the total floor weight in standard fuselage area of current aircraft. The weight of the stiffener is reduced, as a result of the use of composite materials, which offer unique mechanical performance to weight ratios. In addition, Optimfloor decreases the number of fasteners and nutplates that are needed to attach the seat tracks to the floor panels.

Optimfloor panels are homogeneous, bigger than current floor panels and seat-track pre-integrated, therefore the company says they provide easier installation and maintenance by reducing the time spent by operators to install the floor structure.

Additionally, Optimfloor is not subject to corrosion while current seat tracks, which are made from extruded/machined metal alloys, face severe corrosion in aircraft wet areas. In conjunction with those benefits, the company says they designed a quick installation system called Easyfix in order to efficiently attach seats and furniture on the Optimfloor concept. Easyfix is a quick fastener that is easy to install (only one hand is needed to lock it) and it can be fixed in an eighth of a rotation which makes it simple and very fast. It is also a blind fixation that can be installed from only one side.

To meet challenging cost and volume targets, the company chose to use pultrusion to manufacture the seat track. For instance, hundreds of meters of seat tracks are produced for every Airbus A350, and the Airbus A320 program needs more than 60 kilometer a year. Replacing current metallic seat tracks by a competitive composite stiffener can be quite difficult without the use of a continuous high rate and relatively low cost process like pultrusion.

“We were very pleased to work with our partner, Epsilon Composite, who is at the forefront of pultrusion and pull winding manufacturing processes,” Optimfloor says. Designing and manufacturing the composite stiffener was the result of a long, enriching, back-and-forth process between SOGECLAIR Aerospace for the design/stress part and Epsilon Composite for the manufacturing part.
The stacking sequence of the stiffener was first optimized to sustain the maximum loads in the cabin area. The process led to rather a complex stacking that combines low cost carbon fiber tows with special fabrics designed for pultrusion and other mechanical and chemical specifications (Fire, Smoke, and Toxicity) as required in aeronautics.

Mechanical testing was one of the key milestones in the development process. It imformed some useful design choices the company says. Another achievement the company stresses is the damage tolerance of the product. Impact damage is one of the biggest issues of composite materials. The company set a very challenging damage tolerance goal at the very beginning of the project and and says their partner did tremendous work to develop a resin that meets their goal.
The most recent achievement the company accomplished was successfully passing the 16G crash test. This test is required for aircraft seat qualification. Optimfloor says they believe they are the first to complete these tests on composite seat tracks.

Future projects for Optimfloor include an aircraft development program to go further with the solution by taking into account all manufacturer requirements.

Gamma Aerospace Completes $10 Million in Capabilities Expansion at Two Locations

Gamma Aerospace has completed a $10 million expansion of service offerings at its Mansfield, Texas operation and its Rapid Anodizing facility (a wholly-owned Company subsidiary) located in Los Angeles, California. Headquartered in Mansfield, Texas, Gamma Aerospace is a specialized, end-to-end provider of engineered airframe and flight components for leading original equipment manufacturers and Tier I suppliers in the aerospace and defense industries. Gamma centers of operational excellence in North America manufacture a diverse offering of products and services that solve the most complex customer challenges.

The capital investment augments existing processes at the Mansfield and the Rapid Anodizing operations, which include machining, forming, heat treating and assembly of aerospace components. The new investment funded expansion into a range of advanced special processing capabilities that include anodizing, priming/painting, chemical conversion coating and fluorescent penetrant inspection. The new in-house, premium quality special processing services make Gamma Aerospace a total solutions provider: capable of taking in sheet or plate metal, performing all specified processing, producing finished aerospace components, and providing these services in record turnaround times for the aerospace industry.

“The capital infusion into our Mansfield and Rapid Anodizing operations is a breakthrough in the continued transformation of our Company, with the expanded service offerings making Gamma Aerospace a total solutions provider,” said Thomas C. Hutton, CEO, Gamma Aerospace. “We are singular in providing—in one network and often under one roof—processes that are end-to-end, up to and including five-axis machining, forming, wet chemical special processing, and heat treatment.”

MTU Maintenance Delivers 500th CF34-10E Engine to Kenya Airways

MTU Maintenance, global leader in customized aero engine solutions handed over its of 500th overhauled CF34-10E to valued customer Kenya Airways in a virtual ceremony yesterday. MTU Maintenance has maintained a number of Kenya Airways’ CF34-10E engines since 2016 and CFM56 engines since 2019.

“We are honoured to be MTU’s 500th CF34-10E engine customer,” says Evans Kihara, technical director Kenya Airways. “We appreciate their excellent service, high-quality technical expertise and reliable, cost-effective maintenance. We look forward to continued innovation for even better maintenance cost and to building our great partnership in the years to come.” Kenya Airways is the Republic of Kenya’s national flag carrier and was founded in 1977. The airline is the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya Airways operates a fleet of 13 Embraer190s – the largest CF34 fleet in Africa.

“Despite these unusual times, we are delighted that it was possible to celebrate this success and milestone with Kenya Airways virtually,” says André Sinanian, managing director and senior vice president, MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg. “At MTU Maintenance, we take pride in our performance and reliability and are proud our customers return to us time and time again.”

YTO Cargo Chooses Pratt & Whitney for PW4000 Engine Support

YTO Cargo has selected Pratt & Whitney for support of their new fleet of in-service Boeing 767-300ER powered by PW4000 94-inch engines. A cargo airline headquartered in Hangzhou, China, YTO Cargo will receive a support service package from Pratt & Whitney as part of the agreement for selecting the PW4000. The service package will allow for smooth entry into service of the 767-freighter fleet.

“This agreement with Pratt & Whitney came after careful considerations in terms of engine experience, reliability and supportability within China,” said Hongxiang Li, president of YTO Cargo Airlines. “The support package will help ensure our operations are efficient as we continue to grow our fleet and our business.”

Pratt & Whitney has delivered more than 2,500 PW4000 94-inch engines that have collectively logged more than 140 million flight hours on commercial aircraft around the world. The PW4000 94-inch engines power Boeing 747, 767 and MD-11 aircraft, as well as Airbus A300 and A310 aircraft.

“The agreement today is an exciting milestone for our participation in the China cargo market, and we are proud to provide support for YTO Cargo’s new aircraft,” said Yogesh Farswani, president, Greater China, Customer Business, Commercial Engines at Pratt & Whitney. “The PW4000 engine family that will power these aircraft have an exceptional track record of performance and dependability, with numerous commercial customers operating the engine globally over the course of 30 years. We look forward to supporting YTO Cargo for many years to come.”

The PW4000 94-inch engine was the first model in the PW4000 family of high-thrust engines, covering a range of 52,000 to 62,000 pounds of thrust. Approved for 180-minute Extended-range Twin-engine Operations (ETOPS), the engine provides airlines with operational flexibility and high reliability. The engine’s benefits are further enhanced by excellent performance retention, long on-wing times and low maintenance costs.

Incora Opens New Corporate Headquarters in Fort Worth

Incora held a ribbon-cutting ceremony the opening of its new global headquarters at 2601 Meacham Boulevard in Fort Worth. Fort Worth was previously home to two company offices, which have consolidated into the new, expanded location. Incora’s largest warehouse, by volume, is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and some of the company’s largest customers and suppliers are nearby. In addition to these resources and assets, the central U.S. location makes the city of Fort Worth ideal for the new headquarters, offering more product and service availability to global customers, suppliers, and colleagues.

“Our new headquarters is more than a building; it is the commitment that Incora is making to customers, suppliers, employees and community,” said Incora chief executive officer David Coleal. “We are celebrating this important milestone because the new headquarters is a symbol that we are one company and one Incora, bringing together our unique capabilities for our customers and suppliers across the globe.”  

Mayor Betsy Price attended the headquarters opening celebration and stated, “We’re delighted to welcome Incora’s expanded presence to Fort Worth and we look forward to the company’s community involvement.”

Brandom Gengelbach, president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce also attended the event. He noted, “Fort Worth is a dynamic city by nature, fueled by a vibrant business community. Incora’s expansion is a direct testament to that and positions the company for continued success and future growth here.”

Consolidating Fort Worth-area offices and assets is part of a global plan to combine two legacy companies, Wesco Aircraft and Pattonair, into one Incora. The integration creates efficiencies, encourages collaboration, and leverages growth in all regions. Incora’s executive leadership team will be centered in Fort Worth, bringing them together and reinforcing Incora’s collaborative approach.

ATAC Honored with 8th Consecutive FAA William “Bill” O’Brien Diamond Award of Excellence

Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), part of the Textron Systems segment of Textron Inc., announced it has been awarded the 2020 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William “Bill” O’Brien Diamond Award of Excellence. The award recognizes exemplary dedication to the advancement of aviation safety and a commitment to continuous training across aviation safety, aircraft systems, and both aviation and FAA regulations.

“This award is a testament to our culture of professionalism and the caliber of
ATAC’s maintenance cadre,” said Scott Stacy, senior vice president and General Manager. “It’s a tremendous privilege to lead a company recognized for the excellence of its aviation maintenance technicians and leaders.” The award marks the eighth consecutive year that ATAC has been a recipient of the FAA’s William “Bill” O’Brien Diamond Award of Excellence.

Fostering a culture of continual learning and technical excellence is second nature to ATAC’s seasoned corps of maintenance professionals. Highly-decorated U.S. military veterans and civilian aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) comprise ATAC’s maintenance team.

Working together, the ATAC team enables a robust flight operations tempo across eight permanent locations and multiple deployment sites in the continental U.S., Hawaii and the Western Pacific. ATAC’s entire aircraft maintenance organization consistently achieves 100 percent compliance with initial and recurrent AMT training requirements — which garners individual bronze, silver or gold awards for each member of the team. This level of dedication to safety and continuous learning demonstrates the team’s commitment to warfighter readiness, making ATAC the recognized industry leader in tactical aviation.

“The ATAC team is honored to receive this award from the FAA,” said Greg Guilfoyle, vice president of Maintenance and Logistics. “It is a team effort. Every supervisor and every technician at ATAC play key roles in the completion of successful flight operations. All of our staff members are committed to excellence while operating from a set of diverse operating locations in support of the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.”

ATAC is the global leader of tactical airborne training, having pioneered much of what today are contracted air services industry standards. ATAC operates a fleet of over 90 aircraft, achieving over 65,000 flight hours, totaling 20 years of operating experience. ATAC has provided a wide range of contracted air support capabilities to the U.S. Department of Defense in locations world-wide, including the Continental United States, Hawaii and the Western Pacific region. ATAC has helped train crews from the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and regularly operates out of as many as 25 different air bases per year.

Sunaero Americas and FEAM MRO Partner at Cincinnati Airport

Sunaero – Americas has partnered with FEAM MRO at Cincinnati/Northen Kentucky Airport (CVG). This partnership finalizes the opening of the repair station hub at CVG and expands their North American network. Sunaero – Americas will provide on-site fuel system repair services by bringing expertise and patented technologies.
The companies say with today’s growing air cargo fleet, a successful partnership between the two is a key milestone. “At Sunaero – Americas, we strive to put quality and customer satisfaction first, and we are proud to share this commitment with FEAM”, said Havan Tucker, Sunaero – Americas, CEO. “By sharing the same values and commitment for their customers – quality and satisfaction – the partnership will be positively impacted and will help it to thrive.”

Sunaero – Americas continues to develop partnerships with air cargo carriers based at CVG and strive to support their North American operations as well as supporting them in Europe and Asia.
Sunaero Group’s growing worldwide hub network increases flexibility and reliability to their customers supply chain. Sunaero’s mission is to reduce aircraft downtime to improve cost efficiency for MROs and fleet performance for operators, the company says.

Vortex Aviation Inducts First GTF PW1000G Engine in New Davie, Florida Facility

Vortex Aviation, the global On-Wing and quick-turn turbine engine repair organization announced the induction of the first Pratt and Whitney Geared Turbo Fan (GTF) PW1130G-JM engine at its new Davie, Florida US facility. The induction of the GTF PW1000G series engine adds to the capabilities of the Vortex facility including CFM LEAP 1A/1B, CFM56, IAE V2500 and other commercial jet engines.

Vortex relocated to the new 45,000 square foot state-of-the art engine maintenance facility in the fall of 2020. As a result of this expansion, Vortex Aviation is now able to maximize its capacity to support the entire next-generation of narrow body fleet of A320 NEOs and 737 MAX, plus regional fleets such as the A220, E190, E2/E195-E2 powered by GTF while continuing to support the older generation of turbine engines.

Vortex maintains its long-running certification approvals as a licensed quick-turn engine service and repair shop to support major OEM engine models such the CFM, GE, Roll Royce, IAG and PW.  Vortex will continue to provide full-service support to operators, owners, and lessors with the same responsive and cost-effective standards for which it has been known for within the industry.

“We are excited to reach this new milestone inducting our first GTF PW1000G engine series at our new Davie facility,” said Timothy Forbes, managing director/accountable manager of Vortex Aviation. “The increased capacity at the new engine shop has broaden our customer activity and scope of work to provide strategic support for the next generation of engine models, allowing us to achieve new business and remain a well-established and recognized leader in engine field services support.”

Commsoft and NVable Launch New Partnership

Commsoft and NVable have launched a new partnership to integrate their solutions in a way that provides a seamless experience across all aspects of aircraft maintenance, the two say. Under this new initiative, Commsoft will be the exclusive global distributor of NVable’s Electronic Tech Log (ETL) product. In close collaboration with Commsoft, NVable will continue to develop and support the ETL product to further enhance its capabilities into the future.

NVable is an innovator in aviation software and one of the first companies to have a successful, live Electronic Tech Log (ETL) implementation. Their focus on customer experience has driven the development of a number of tools across multiple platforms – with the Converge website providing the nexus for integration of data feeds, real-time analysis and administrative functions.

Commsoft’s Open Aviation Strategic Engineering System (OASES) is the comprehensive application for airworthiness maintenance control, with a focus on meeting strict regulatory requirements. It enables airlines, fixed wing and rotary operators, MROs, and CAMOs to increase efficiencies in the management and monitoring of every procedure or intervention.

Commsoft and NVable say combining the specialties of their organizations “will provide aviation customers with a seamless, deeply integrated experience flowing between the office, hangar, line activities and to each aircraft.” Third parties are also included by combining the various mobile applications and web technologies. This reach, combined with real-time data flows, opens a new world of possibilities for aviation maintenance.

“We are constantly looking for ways to make life simpler for our customers, this drives our road-map and development decisions,” said Cameron Hood, co-founder and CEO of NVable. “Our agreement with Commsoft allows us jointly to provide tools that can make a huge difference for teams involved in every aspect of the aviation maintenance. And there is no reason why it should stop there.”

“OASES is delighted to partner with Nvable to bring ETL to our extensive community.” said Paul Lynch, VP New Business at Commsoft, “We believe ETL is a key tool supporting the acceleration of digitalisation in aviation and this offering together with our cloud-based platform will support the deep integration required to improve maintenance cycles.”

Read more about eTechLogs in the latest issue of our sister publication, Aerospace Tech Review here.

Rusada Launches New Maintenance App for ENVISION

Aviation software provider, Rusada, has released a new mobile application for its Airworthiness, MRO, and Flight Operations solution ENVISION.

ENVISION Tasks enables Technicians and Engineers to efficiently conduct maintenance using a tablet device. The app streamlines the execution process by delivering all the functionality users need in one place. Assigned tasks can be viewed, actioned and signed-off from within the app, and during the

process parts and tools can be requested and any findings reported.

The new app also allows users to work offline, in both planned and unplanned scenarios. When offline working is planned, users can download a work package in advance and then perform maintenance tasks without an internet connection. When unplanned, in-progress tasks can still be executed, time booked, spares requested and many other functions, which will then sync back to the main database once a connection is restored.

The app is available on Windows 10, iOS, and Android tablets.