Industry Great, Ray Valeika, Dies

Well-known industry figure, Ray Valeika, died earlier this month. A memorial service will be held on July 22, 2021 in Maritetta, Georiga. Here is his obituary as published on the Mays Ward Dobbins Funeral Home site:

Raymond Valeika passed away peacefully at home on July 10, 2021. Ray was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1942 to Florijonas and Ann Valeika. His father was a noted composer and conductor of the Lithuanian Military orchestra who, as a young man, had played flute in the private orchestra of the mother of Nicholas Romanov, the last Czar of Russia. Florijonas fought for the Russian Army in World War I but deserted when the Red Army attempted to conscript him to fight in the Russian Revolution. When the Soviets took Lithuania in 1944, Florijonas’s ties to the previous regime and his refusal to fight for the Revolution made him a marked man. The Valeika family, including a three-year-old Ray and an infant brother, fled under cover of darkness in a horse-drawn cart. They had to cross Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe, hiding in barns and basements, until they made it to Allied-occupied Bavaria. Ray’s baby brother did not survive the journey.

Ray’s family was randomly assigned to an American-run Displaced Person’s camp, where they would spend the next six years. Despite the hardships he endured, Ray always described this time as an idyllic childhood, playing in ruined castles and shot-down airplanes in the Bavarian forests. His sister, Ramona, was born during their time in Germany. At age nine, Ray’s family was able to emigrate to the United States through the sponsorship of a Catholic charity.

The Valeikas settled in East Saint Louis, Illinois. Again, despite growing up in difficult conditions, Ray always spoke fondly of his childhood as an immigrant playing with kids from many different backgrounds. He excelled at sports and earned a basketball scholarship to St. Joseph’s College in Indiana. During his freshman year, his parents passed away within six months of each other, and Ray had to return home to care for his sister.

A life-changing stroke of luck occurred when a Dean at Saint Louis University heard about his circumstances and offered him a full scholarship. He enrolled at SLU’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, setting him on his lifelong path in the Aviation Industry, where he got to travel the world, one of his greatest passions. Ray worked for several airlines for the next 40 years including Eastern, Pan Am, Continental, and Delta, where he retired as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations in 2004. At that time, he oversaw a maintenance organization with over 10,000 employees and was responsible for a fleet of 700 aircraft. His office was in the hangar, and he constantly walked the floor to maintain personal relationships with employees at all levels, earning him the nickname, “The Wrench.” He received many accolades in the industry, including the Air Transport Association Nuts and Bolts award in 1996. He was an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the world of airline maintenance and technical operations. He served on several boards including those of NASA and the National Academy of Sciences, and served on the Executive Board of ATL Partners until his death.

He met his beloved wife Tyra, a flight attendant for Eastern, on an airplane. They were married from 1967 until her death in 2018. Along the way they had two children, Cheryl, and Steven. Ray was a phenomenal father, treasuring family time despite a busy career. He brought his kids on trips around the world, instilling in them the same love of travel, different places, and different people that he always had.

Ray’s experience as a refugee and an immigrant and his realization of the American Dream would define his personality and worldview. He paid forward the kindness he received early on in his philanthropic work. The most notable example was his work with the Community Mayor’s Association of New York where he organized an annual “flight to the North Pole” for disabled children. The children boarded a Pan Am plane that would taxi out to the runway, pretend to takeoff, and then return to a hangar decorated like the North Pole, complete with Santa and presents. He brought this tradition with him to Continental and Delta.

Ray made friends very easily and in great numbers. In fact, he would run into friends and
acquaintances in distant airports and cities with such frequency that it became a running joke in the family anytime they traveled, wondering when the next random encounter with an old friend would occur. He also felt a kinship with other immigrants and would often ask people where they were from if he heard an accent.

Ray was a great father, husband, grandfather, and friend to many. He had a tremendous work ethic and an even greater love of life which was evident to anyone who knew him. He is survived by his daughter Cheryl Stenz and her children Charlotte, Will, and Jack, and son Steve and his wife Katie and their daughters Lillian and Vivian, as well as his niece Sandra Myatt and nephew Jim Alvey. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister, brother, two half-brothers, his wife Tyra, and son-in-law Chris Stenz.

A service will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 22, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Marietta, with a reception to follow at Governors Towne Club in Acworth. Masks are required for nonvaccinated guests. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Community Mayor’s Association of New York. Arrangements made under the caring guidance of Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home & Crematory Macland Chapel, Powder Springs, GA.

Lockheed Martin Purchases 50 Dalistick Systems for F-35 Sustainment

Lockheed Martin has purchased 50 Dalistick Systems for F-35 Sustainment from Corrdesa, the company says. Corrdesa is now under contract to supply an initial 50 units, with options for 40+ per year for the following three years, to equip the growing number of F-35 squadrons around the world.

The Dalistick plating/anodizing unit is designed as a closed-loop system that pumps electrolyte from the bottle, through the plating tool where it repairs the aircraft, and back into the bottle for clean, no-touch disposal when it is depleted. The operator need only clean, smooth and measure the area to be repaired, glide the plating tool over the damaged area until the machine shuts off at the predetermined plating thickness, and apply a non-chromate passivate. The aircraft can then be non-chrome primed and painted, and put back in the air.

Lockheed Martin’s fifth generation F-35, is not only considered the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world but also the greenest. It is designed and produced with mission readiness and the warfighter’s success in mind, but at the same time almost all cadmium, chromates, and other toxic materials have been eliminated from construction and maintenance.

Toxic chromated cadmium for corrosion control has been replaced by clean, safe, and more effective chromate-free electroplated zinc nickel (ZnNi). For new-builds this is done in large, commercial electroplating tanks, but when the coatings are damaged in the field on-aircraft repair is required for a quick turnaround without substantial disassembly.

Over the past 7 years, DoD funding from SBIRs and SERDP-ESTCP has helped Corrdesa to develop and qualify non-drip brush plating and anodizing repair processes, equipment and tooling. Partnering with Dalic, France, the Dalistick non-drip brush plating equipment has been tested and further developed to address repair challenges in the USAF, US Navy maintenance facilities, and aircraft carriers, which require safe operation on deck at sea.

Brush plating is typically done in a hangar, where drips and spills of plating chemicals can be controlled, channeled, or at least wiped up to avoid exposing workers to harmful chemicals. But brush plating outside on the flight line or a pitching carrier deck is an entirely different proposition. For that the F-35 Ground Support Equipment (GSE) plating systems are installed in custom-designed ruggedized carts, enabling repair directly on the aircraft in harsh conditions. Being able to repair the aircraft with non-drip, no-mess technology saves time and returns it to service as fast as possible.

Aviation Blade Services Announces S-70 Blade Maintenance Training and Services Partnerships

Aviation Blade Services has commenced with a multi-year Inspection and Repair Training and Maintenance contract to support main and tail rotor blade repair for the Taiwanese fleet of S-70/UH-60 rotorcraft. The partnership with AMS Group and Air Asia Company is a significant milestone for Aviation Blade Services in supporting operators worldwide.

“We are excited to continue growing our footprint with foreign military operators of the Blackhawk and Seahawk by expanding our longstanding relationship with the AMS Group and AACL,” John Brennan, ABS general manager commented. “The training and service partnership allows AACL to support fleet readiness in country and reduce turnaround times (TAT) by leveraging ABS’s industry leading technical capabilities.”

Dr. Matthew Wentzel, AMS Group SVP, Business Development, added “AMS Group is extremely excited to expand our partnership with ABS to enhance the AACL Vertical Flight Center’s current in-country Depot Level S-70/UH-60 Rotor Blade maintenance capabilities. AMS and ABS are collectively committed to provide AACL with on-going training, engineering consultation and maintenance support to sustain the ROCN and ROCA S-70/UH-60 fleets mission readiness requirements.”

AACL VP, Tsai, Sung-Lin stated “The AMS and ABS partnership has demonstrated dedicated customer support, competitive cost/TAT options, technical capability and a reputation for quality support and services. These were all key factors in our decision to enter into a long-term technical partnership.”

Aviation Blade Services says it is looking to continue to grow its influence within the UH-60/S-70 rotor blade maintenance marketplace with continued investment in engineering and capacity.

Bally Ribbon Mills Offers Prototype Development and Testing for Woven Webbings

Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is offering prototype development and testing critical for ensuring that a fabric can perform for a particular purpose and in specific environmental conditions.
At BRM, all projects are prototyped and tested for the application – whether BRM has off the shelf fabrics or develops a new fabric. Every inquiry goes through a process that includes a regimented data creation method. Extensive sampling is performed on everything woven, dyed, and finished. All information is entered into a vast database of test data linked to all manufacturing processes. Application experts draw from this information during the product development stage to pair products with customer needs.

The process begins with communication between the customer and BRM to understand the application. The customer may show drawings and BRM shares relevant test report information. Following the information gathering stage, BRM application experts begin by searching the company’s exhaustive materials database to determine if the customer can incorporate an existing off the shelf fabric into their development process. BRM sends customers several possible materials options, which the customer tests for actual application performance with regard to thickness, tensile strength, and the effects of UV or saltwater.

When the project cannot use an off the shelf item, BRM uses a rigorous regulated project planning control process for developing a new solution to meet the requirements. Weaving experts review all the specifications to gain a deep understanding of the environment the fabric will be used in, and the chemistry required. They then enter into a product development agreement for a particular application, which includes producing prototypes for detailed customer testing. In most cases, customers want prototypes to blow apart and model through observation rather than benchtop studies.

All applications are unique. They rarely fit into a neat box and it is simply not possible to predict the performance of any particular woven material for all applications. The BRM prototyping process is ideal for match up application performance requirements to a solution that meets established fiber performance and chemistry criteria.

JPB Système’s Smart Washer Technology Improves Efficiencies Across Helicopter Maintenance Operations

Airbus Helicopters is testing innovative and disruptive technology across its maintenance operations, leading to quantifiable efficiency gains. In some cases, this can lead to time reductions for certain activities from two days to just two hours.

The company is trialing JPB Système’s proof-of-concept Smart Washer solution, which is designed to improve efficiencies within maintenance, repair and operations by enabling touchless and wireless measurement of bolt axial load. Instead of the need to manually check the tightening torque level of traditional bolts within the helicopter, Smart Washer allows engineers to directly measure bolt tension in just a few seconds with no need for intervention on the bolted assembly.

According to Georges Devilliers, senior expert for Helicopter Maintenance at Airbus Helicopters, since trialling Smart Washer over several months, the company has identified the potential for significant efficiency improvements across helicopter maintenance activities. This is underscored by a more hassle-free process on the company’s helicopters.

An example is the periodic check of the tightening torque on the main gearbox suspension bar attachment – a procedure that first requires removal of the two engines, as well as the helicopter’s interior trim, before maintenance engineers can gain access and check the bolts. Once checked, the engine needs to be re-installed and a ground-run undertaken to ensure correct installation of the engines.

“Basically, this is a heavy maintenance operation that takes around two days and requires two engineers to check about 12 bolts,” explains Devilliers. “By comparison, using Smart Washer, the same task can be performed by just one engineer in about two hours; we don’t need to physically access the bolts to perform the checks, so there’s nothing to dismantle.”

Via its tests of Smart Washer, Airbus Helicopters believes that the device could monitor more accurately the tension in the bolted assemblies.

“To check proper tension of the bolts, we currently measure the tightening torque; this is very difficult and also very imprecise,” continues Devilliers. “Difficult, because you need access to the assembly, loosen it and then re-tighten it, which can introduce room for error in so far as the dismantling of parts to access the bolts, as well as the subsequent re-assembly. The issue of imprecision arises because of the dispersion of coefficient of friction between the nut and the bolt.”

As a result, when it comes to servicing, a substantial amount of time is required to undertake such checks, which for helicopters, can sometimes represent as much as 10% of the overall scheduled maintenance time.

For Airbus Helicopters’ customers, the speed at which such checks can be performed also helps to minimize helicopter immobilization, which drives further efficiencies. In such instances, Smart Washer technology has the potential to facilitate much easier, shorter and less costly procedures.

Big Data for a wider vision

For Airbus Helicopters, the attributes of Smart Washer have more far-reaching potential. Since the device can register tension, date, location, temperature as well as other parameters this data could feasibly be used to alert customers to the need to perform other maintenance procedures – be it immediate or just according to schedule.

“We’ll continue to work closely with JPB Système as they develop Smart Washer to see how it could be integrated with Airbus Helicopters and, perhaps even within the group as a whole,” continues Devilliers. “Importantly, it addresses our fundamental challenges insofar as the need to make maintenance operations safer, easier and less time-consuming, so for us, it’s definitely a box-ticker.”

Airbus Helicopters provides efficient civil and military helicopter solutions to customers in around 150 countries. From its head office and main facility in Marignane, near Marseille, in France, the company’s operations span an array of activities, including design, assembly, training, test flights and delivery.

Burnishing Process to Improve Fatigue Life of Metallic Components Reaches Production Milestone, Establishing itself as Validated Design and Repair Solution

One million critical components used in everything from aircraft engines and power turbines to nuclear waste containers and medical implants are safer and will last longer because of the metal burnishing process dreamt up by Lambda Technologies Group CEO and co-founder, Paul Prevéy during a family trip to Disney World more than 25 years ago.

Low Plasticity Burnishing, or LPB, is a patented mechanical process that applies pressure to the surface of metallic components using a custom-designed hydrostatic burnishing tool – a wheel or ball tool that rolls across the surface of a material to apply compressive stress. Prevéy came up with the idea after a happenstance look across the World Showcase Lagoon in which the Epcot ball appeared to be hovering atop the surface of the water.

In engineering, compressive stress (or residual compression) increases the fatigue strength and extends the life of components by mitigating crack propagation. Lambda developed LPB to impart a layer of deep, stable compression with an extremely high level of control.

The high level of control allows the beneficial compression to be applied in a single pass with no overlapping paths using conventional CNC machine tools. This high level of control is particularly important for the compression to remain stable in high temperatures, like jet engine blade applications. The single-cycle application also provides faster production times and lower operational costs.

LPB can sculpt designed levels of compression onto a component surface ranging from a few thousandths of an inch to over a full centimeter. Critical components processed by LPB, both at the company’s Cincinnati, Ohio manufacturing plant and in the field, include:

· Military and commercial aircraft components: fan blades, disks, vanes, IBRs/blisks, landing gear, structures, etc.

· Helicopter components

· Large and small armaments

· Fitness equipment

· Bicycles

· Large and small automotive components

· Medical implants

· Nuclear power components & waste containers

· Power turbine components

· Train components

· Mining equipment

· Oil drilling components surface/down hole

The increase in fatigue life combined with the reduction in out-of-service and inspection times from component failures have saved customers millions of dollars in operations and maintenance costs. LPB has received numerous certifications and accreditations over the years, and Lambda Technologies Group is an approved supplier for NAVAIR, Pratt & Whitney, Delta TechOps, and GE Aviation.

ASM Rebranding as JANA Engineering

JANA, Inc., an engineering and technical documentation services company, has announced the rebranding of Aircraft Systems and Manufacturing, Inc. (ASM) to JANA Engineering.

Ean Niland, president of JANA, Inc., states that the move is the last piece of the transition plan that began when JANA purchased ASM in 2017. “We are undertaking this rebranding effort to reflect the reality that ASM has grown to become an integral part of the JANA family, and its inclusion is an important step toward achieving the overall company goals that were established when JANA purchased ASM nearly five years ago.”

Under the new name, JANA Engineering will continue to serve the Aerospace industry as a whole, with emphasis on operators and commercial carriers, component OEMs, airframe OEMs, and MROs. As the world leader in advanced avionics integration, JANA Engineering is able to offer FAA Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) services, STC certifications, design and engineering for avionics integration, fabrication/assembly and kitting capabilities, and 24/7 AOG support.

As part of the transition, the company name, logo, and website will adopt the present JANA branding. The content from ASM’s website has been incorporated into the existing JANA site and can be found at The company says these changes will not affect JANA Engineering’s ability to deliver top-notch customer service and solutions to clients and that their primary focus continues to be ensuring that all projects receive the highest level of attention and follow-through.

Air Industries Group Announces $7.4 Million Release for Commercial Jet Engine Components

Air Industries Group an integrated manufacturer of precision assemblies and components for leading aerospace and defense prime contractors, announced that it has received a $7.4 Million order for “Thrust Struts,” a critical component of the Geared Turbofan (“GTF”) Jet Engine. This release is part of a previously announced Long-Term Agreement (LTA).

“Military aviation products dominate Air Industries’ business. In terms of revenue, the Thrust Strut is our largest commercial aviation product,” said Lou Melluzzo, CEO of Air Industries. “The pandemic’s impact on air travel, and on the commercial aviation business, reduced demand for this product in 2020. This new release supports our sense that a rebound in commercial aviation is occurring sooner than expected. As a component of the Geared Turbofan Engine, our product is used on smaller airliners including the Embraer E2 and, most notably, the Airbus A-220, which has become increasingly popular with the Airline Operators.”

Bally Ribbon Mills Introduces New Series of Advanced Textile Products for Electronic Transmission Data

Bally Ribbon Mills announced its newest line of advanced textile products to increase part functionality and utility. As companies demand higher durability and product differentiation, BRM has developed  its E-WEBBINGS and TPCM thermoplastic materials. Both products offer multiple features, including lighter weight, specific strength, durability, stability, abrasion resistance, and sustainability.

BRM’s advanced textile products are ideal for electronic transmission data, energy storage, and manufacturing automation. Working with companies that include NASA, Tier 1 Defense suppliers, as well as directly with the Department of Defense (Army, Air Force), BRM has developed advanced textiles used in parachutes, safety harnesses, personal protective equipment, and chemically resistant webbing. BRM is in accordance with safety standards, specifications and certifications, including ISO9001, AS9100, ISO13485, ISO14000, NFPA, ASTM, ANSI, *UL, and CSA.

E-WEBBINGS are narrow-fabrics that are conductive, enabling the electronic transmission of data sensations (light, noise, vibrations, heat), and power that can be stored or used to actuate/transform objects. Unique conductive fibers can be woven in conjunction with other fibers and can be used in embedded sensors in both wearable and integral technology, including the Internet of Things.

TPCM thermoplastic composite materials are 2-D or 3D-woven, thermoplastic structures for incorporation into composite parts produced within varied, continually-evolving molding processes. The woven structural shapes are used in hybrid composite structures used in numerous industries, including aerospace/aviation, automotive/transportation, defense, architecture/infrastructure, marine and sports/recreation.

BRM customizes weave designs to modify performance properties, offering expert capabilities for custom options and configurations to optimize designs. BRM’s laboratories consider application details, width, tensile strength, elongation, color, quantity, and other special requirement with customized advanced textile products.


PWI Offers LED Replacement Variable Dimming Control System

PWI now offers an LED Variable Dimming Control System for the cockpit map light of all King Air models of aircraft.

“LEDs can be extremely powerful which is good on cloudy days and around dusk, but for night flying it can be too much light,” says Robi Lorik, President and CEO of PWI. “Most pilots prefer fully adjustable, variable dimming LEDs for their map lights. So, our Dimming Control System will give owners and pilots more options.”  

The PWI LED Variable Dimming Control System includes two PMA certified LEDs for the overhead map lights, as well as a STC/PMA approved Variable Dimming Controller. PWI also offers just the Variable Dimming Controller for those King Air owners who have already purchased PWI LED map lights.

“The installation of the PWI Variable Dimming Control System is adaptable to owner preferences,” says Lorik.  “The aircraft owner can decide whether to replace the existing LED light controls or add the new Variable Dimming System on to the current cockpit instrumentation.”

The system can be ordered with either the 303, 1495 or the 1308/1309 LED reading lights. Installing PWI LEDs give King Air owners more than 30,000 hours of light as well as being energy efficient. LEDs are less expensive over the life of the aircraft, saving owners from repeated bulb purchases. The Variable Dimming Controller is compact in size and ultra-light weight, yet sturdy. The LED Variable Dimming System is easy to install and both the LEDs and the Dimmer Controller are certified by the FAA.

“This Variable Dimming Control System checks a lot of boxes for us and we think it will be really popular with our King Air customers,” says Lorik. The LED lights have a three-year warranty and the Controller has a one-year limited warranty. PWI is the OEM for most King Air interior lighting.