There are many different wing designs, shapes, and sizes, with each variation fulfilling a certain need in respect to the performance of the aircraft. The wings are attached to either side of an aircraft fuselage and are the main lifting surfaces that support the plane in flight. Wings can be attached at the lower, middle, and top portion of the fuselage. Some wings are angled back, some curve up, while others have fixed wings.
A fixed wing aircraft is one that is capable of flight using forward motion that generates lift as the wing moves through the air. Most fixed wing aircraft require a pilot on board to maneuver it to its destination; however, advancements in drone technology have produced an unmanned, remote controlled capacity. Fixed wing aircraft can be categorized into three different types: monoplane, biplane, and triplane.
A monoplane is a fixed wing aircraft designed with one main set of wings. Their design has been nearly universally adopted as they have the highest efficiency and lowest drag of any wing configuration and are simple to construct. It proved its worth during World War II, and since then has completely supplanted the biplane design. Most commercial aircraft that air passengers travel on are monoplanes.
A biplane is similar to a monoplane except that it has a second set of wings, stacked on top of each other. This style permits lighter wing structures, low wing loading, greater maneuverability, and a smaller wingspan area ratio. This style of aircraft was popular during World War I, which is why the military was one of the last manufacturers to abandon the design. The disadvantage of biplanes is the amount of drag produced by the two sets of wings; they suffer greatly from aerodynamic interference.
Triplanes have an additional third set of wings stacked on top of each other. They have reduced wingspan area in comparison with a biplane— resulting in a smaller, more lightweight structure. Triplanes offer better maneuverability and a higher load capacity and were popular during the first World War. Triplanes quickly lost their popularity after the war as biplanes proved to be more functional/practical.
Bearings and bushings are used in a multitude of applications from complex aerospace machinery to simple clocks. They are a small component, yet there are many different variations because each one supports different loads and performance. So, what exactly are they?
Bearings assist machinery in moving at high speeds while reducing friction, stress, and wear. They are typically used to support rotating shafts in machines. On the other hand, a bushing is an independent plain bearing that supports a shaft; it allows relative motion by sliding instead of rolling. Unlike bearings, bushings don’t have multiple components.
Most bearings support a rotating shaft in machinery. They allow movement between components and provide contact between them, such as balls or rollers, which reduce friction. There are two general classifications: journal bearings and thrust bearings. Journal bearings support loads that act at right angles to the axes while thrust bearings support loads that act parallel to the axis. Within these classifications, there are many subcategories, and each is used to support different loads.
Bushings provide low friction motion and reduce power consumption, noise, and wear. They are metal tubes that are typically made from a bronze powder and are self-lubricating. The way that the bronze powder is compressed allows small pores to remain. They are saturated with oil, which seeps into the pores. When the bushing contacts a shaft, it deposits a thin film of lubricating oil. Bushings are often cheaper than ball bearings and can be used on both hardened and non-hardened shafts, while the ball bearing can only be used on hardened shafts. The disadvantages of using a bushing are that they can move in a jerking motion and they may not fit properly, leading to faster wear and tear of the machinery.
The term, glass cockpit, sounds like a follow up to The Glass Menagerie, but it’s really just a souped up term to describe the large glass displays that help pilots monitor their avionics while in flight. Also known as flight management systems (FMS), the screens provide critical details to the cockpit including flight info, cautions and warnings, and procedural steps. Most modern aircraft are equipped with avionics screens of some sort, also referred to as a technically enhanced cockpit. Alerting systems are one of the valuable components of avionics that utilize the visual aid of the glass cockpit.
An alerting system helps identify malfunctions and errors in the mechanics and avionics of an aircraft. Cockpit alerting systems act as a safeguard for any failures or complications that installed monitors might have missed. If there is a problem within the operation of an aircraft, the user interface of these systems will show two specific types of alerts to the pilot— a cautionary alert or a warning alert.
A cautionary alert is for any error that is not an immediate threat to flight progress but may become an issue in the future. Reminders to replace components are one example of the notification a caution might entail.
A warning alert is provided by the alerting system whenever a malfunction is an immediate threat to an aircraft’s ability to complete its current flight cycle. Alerts of this nature must be addressed with priority because they can indicate anything from engine failure to overheating electronics.
Alerting systems provide a comprehensive overview of an aircraft moment to moment. In a crisis, the information provided by alerting system devices can help a pilot make focused, informed decisions in critical situations. The systems can also help streamline aircraft maintenance by providing reminders for maintenance checks or necessary parts replacements.
Despite the many benefits of an alerting system, there are a few downfalls. As an electronically powered unit, the system is vulnerable to failure, and/or errors itself. A pilot should remain sensitive to the possibility of this sort of problem, though they are usually rare. The ability to cross reference information provided by avionics, paired with a thorough aviation background, may help in situations where the automated alerting system cannot. Fuel monitoring and weather navigation skills are two examples of expertise that a pilot should stay abreast of in case of alert system failure.
Unfortunately, even though it would make the hydraulic system stronger and more reliable, you can’t just weld a hydraulic system together. Instead, you have to use fitting and flanges, some of the most useful components of a hydraulic system. But, with so many different options to choose from, it’s important to know the difference in order to determine which is best for your needs.
Fittings are pieces of hardware that seal fluid within a hydraulic system by tightening threads between mating pairs, forcing them to form a high-pressure seal. There are two types of fittings, all-metal and O-rings.
All-metal fittings are those that utilize metal-to-metal contact in order to create a seal. And there are two types of all-metal fittings, pipe-fittings and flare-fittings. Pipe-fittings are cylindrical and prone to leakage and loosening due to being torque-sensitive. They’re also sensitive to temperature and vibration. Flare-fittings are better, generally used with tubing, making them more economical and able to withstand a wider temperature range.
O-rings contain pressurized fluid by compressing an elastomeric seal. They’re rubber-to-metal connectors, so they don’t distort anything, making them easier to tighten. But, they’re expensive and not interchangeable nor reusable.
Flanges are external or internal ridges or rims, used for strength of attachment to another object. Flanges are more suited for mobile parts and components. They can withstand a lot of shock and vibrations and have high pressure capabilities. They’re quick to assemble and offer a lot of flexibility between the hose and tube, offering ease of connection.
Either way, fitting or flange, it’s important to remember them with your regularly scheduled maintenance and repairs. They are great for hydraulic systems, but they’re no use once they’re old and damaged.
In order to secure the aircraft engine to the airframe or fuselage and evenly distribute the stresses and vibrations caused by the engine, we use engine mounts. Aircraft Engine mounts are lightweight steel tubes welded together to form strong and stable structures to house aircraft engines. Aircraft engines of the same type or manufacturer will often use the same engine mounts. However, you can choose to weld your own instead of buying a pre-made one. Here are some shapes to consider.
Conical mounts are the easiest to fabricate, with four attach points to affix the engine and another four points to bolt the mount to the firewall. The mount points are parallel to the firewall, so there are no awkward angles. However, the vibrations and engine torque are not muffled, they’re transmitted through the frame.
Dynafocal mounts are more ideal because they cushion the vibrations and movements of the aircraft engine. However they’re more difficult and expensive to build and install. Dynafocal mounts also have four attach points, but they’re configured in the shape of a ring and focused at an angle towards the engine’s center of gravity. As a result, during welding, this angle must be held in perfect alignment or else the bolts won’t fit during engine installation.
Bed mounts are a little different. They have four points under the crankcase and then hang onto the firewall. They’re typically used on certain diesel engines.
Another thing to consider is the shock mount. The engine mount doesn’t dampen vibrations much on its own. Shock mounts, stiff rubber pieces of varying thickness and strength, are used in between the engine and mount in order to absorb the vibrations.
When welding your mount, it’s important that you know what you’re doing. You need to get all the alignments right, weld perfectly, and be able to install your mount properly. Some aircraft manufacturers will have installation kits including a mount for the engines they sell, which can be a lot easier to use than it is to weld your own. It pays to do your research and know what you’re doing.
At Aerospace Exchange, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we want to make sure that your aircraft is running at full capacity, so we stock up on everything you’d need, from materials to fabricate your own mount to pre-made mounts and installation kits. Visit us at www.aerospaceexchange.com to get started.
Lubrication, of any engine, is vital to its effective functioning and longevity. Without proper engine lubrication, you risk engine malfunctions and extreme wear and tear. This holds especially true to aircraft engines. Other functions of lubricants are cleaning, cooling, sealing, and fighting corrosion and rust that could plague the engine if left unused or untreated for prolonged periods of time. Lubricants’ amazing ability to keep engines clean is a major benefit. While the lubricant keeps the engine clean, it also maximizes efficiency of the engine to make sure you’re getting the maximum output your engine is capable of.
Lubricants also keep the engine cool. As the many parts of an engine are constantly moving and touching, they generate friction and therefore heat, which can raise the temperature of the engine to dangerous levels. The lubricant limits friction between the moving parts to keep the engine running cool and efficiently. This being said, engine lubricant is vital to the operations and moving parts of an engine. Without it, the engine becomes dangerous and not fit to fly.
Engine lubricant also acts as a seal in the space between the rings and the cylinder walls. The lubricant used in an engine can be used on and around seals in parts such as the crankshaft, protecting and retaining the seal. This being said, it’s important to know the properties of the lubricant that you need. If it’s not thick enough, it can put too much pressure on the seal and render the engine useless. If the formula is wrong, the seal could be corroded instead of protected. Properties are mixed film, dynamic, hydrodynamic, and electrohydrodynamic. Be sure to have the correct properties to avoid a potential malfunction.
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