Wichita, KS, United States
Wichita, KS, United States

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. , based in Wichita, Kansas, is the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. The company builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselage, and the cockpit of nearly all of its airliners. Spirit also produces fuselage sections and front wing spars for the Airbus A350. Spirit's main competition comes from Vought Aircraft Industries, UTC Aerospace Systems, Alenia, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.Spirit was formed when Boeing Commercial Airplanes sold its Wichita division to investment firm Onex. Boeing Defense, Space & Security retained its military business in Wichita, which lies on neighboring land. The Wichita division was responsible for construction of many important aircraft in Boeing's history, including the B-29 Superfortress, B-47 Stratojet, and B-52 Stratofortress. Spirit can trace its legacy back even further to Stearman Aircraft, which was founded on the same site; Stearman later became part of Boeing. Spirit also includes North American Aviation's former Tulsa and McAlester facilities On Aug 8, 2005, Spirit AeroSystems announced that Ulrich R. Schmidt had joined the company as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, reporting to Jeffrey Turner, President and CEO.On January 31, 2006, BAE Systems announced it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business, based at Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Samlesbury Aerodrome, to Spirit. The BAE unit, which was renamed Spirit AeroSystems Ltd., is a major supplier to Raytheon , Airbus , and Boeing . The transaction was completed on April 1, 2006. Spirit paid GBP 80 million for the business.In 2010, 96% of Spirit's revenue came from its two largest customers: 85% of sales were from Boeing, 11% from Airbus. In 2009 these two customers represented 96% of sales for Spirit as well.After planning to take Spirit public, at initial public offering on November 21, 2006, the firm's stock rose 10% on the first day. Onex still owns 58% of Spirit, which results in 92% of voting power, as its shares confer "supervoting" power. The chief architect of the Onex purchase of Spirit was Nigel S. Wright, who was later Chief of Staff for the Canadian Prime Minister until his resignation as part of an expense scandal.Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt serves as a labor consultant for Spirit and sits on its board of directors. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Business, Innovation & Skills Financed | Award Amount: 4.65M | Year: 2014

Airbus is running a strategic programme called ‘Wing of the Future’ as part of the UK Aerospace Technology Institute funding initiative. The overall aim is to secure a robust set of innovative technologies at the integrated wing-level and an industrial capability to deploy those concepts in order to ensure Airbus’ programme needs related to wing can be satisfied over the next twenty years. Wing Integrated Leading Edge and Trailing Edge (WILETE) is a key project within the Wing of the Future Programme and will focus on the development of leading and trailing edge structure component and assembly technologies to support high volume and low cost composite wing manufacture, assembly and equipping. In conjunction with other projects within the Wing of the Future collaborative framework, WILETE will be organised in three key phases, each of two years duration. WILETE includes a number of critical wing technology streams for Airbus including integration of LE and TE structures with the wing box structure, and integration of electrical systems including ice protection and flight controls. The project is supported by a selection of strategic and associate partners from respected research and industrial fields.


Patent
Spirit Aerosystems | Date: 2014-12-15

A cure tool assembly and method of manufacturing a composite part. The cure tool assembly may include a rigid cure tool having a cutter groove and a securing groove formed therein. The cutter groove may be spaced apart from and formed around the cutter groove. The securing groove may be slanted inward, away from a peripheral edge of the rigid cure tool. The cure tool assembly may also include a first sacrificial material located in the cutter groove and a second sacrificial material located in the securing groove. Composite material placed onto the outer surface of the rigid cure tool may bond with the second sacrificial material during cure, creating a desired hold-down force to keep the composite material in place. The resulting cured part may be cut along the cutter groove, thus cutting through the composite material and into the first sacrificial material.


Patent
Spirit Aerosystems | Date: 2015-03-26

A system and method for heat shielding an inner wall of a fan duct of an aircraft nacelle from engine heat. The system may include a heat shield and an insulation blanket. The heat shield may have a first layer of high temperature composite material bonded to a first surface of an insulant material and a second layer of high temperature composite material bonded to a second surface of the insulant material. The first layer of high temperature composite material may also be bonded to the inner wall. The insulation blanket may be positioned between the heat shield and the engine, and may be fastened to the heat shield and/or the inner wall.


A system and method for temporarily sealing holes in a perforated material layer of a composite acoustic panel so as to reduce potential migration of a release agent through the holes during a curing process and to reduce ingression of water through the holes during a subsequent testing process. The release agent is applied to a tool, the barrier layer is arranged over the release agent, and a lay-up of elements, beginning with the perforated layer, are arranged over the barrier layer prior to heating the lay-up to form the panel. The barrier layer may be a substantially solid film, such as a plastic or nylon film, having a width of at least approximately twelve inches and a low vapor permeability with regard to the release agent. After the testing process is complete, the barrier layer may be peeled from the panel.


Patent
Spirit Aerosystems | Date: 2015-05-13

A through-transmission ultrasonic (TTU) inspection system for ultrasonic inspection of a part, such as an aircraft component. The TTU inspection system may include a first end effector and/or a second end effector. The first end effector may be positioned on a first surface of the part and the second end effector may be positioned on a second surface of the part, opposite the first surface. The first and/or second end effector may also include an acoustic coupling medium encircled by a plurality of pins independently movable toward and away from a housing of the first and/or second end effector, such that the pins may follow local part contours along the first surface at all times, while retaining the acoustic coupling medium between the first surface and a transducer in the housing of the first and/or second end effector.


Patent
Spirit Aerosystems | Date: 2014-12-23

A system and method of a method of sealing a leak in an internal bladder within a hollow uncured composite part during cure thereof. The method may include placing a rescue bladder within the internal bladder and sealing an impermeable membrane and/or rigid forming tool to the rescue bladder, such that the uncured composite part is sealed within a chamber cooperatively formed by the impermeable membrane, the rigid forming tool, and the outer surface of the rescue bladder. A vent opening of the rescue bladder and/or a vent opening of the end fitting may remain located outward of the chamber. The method may also include curing the hollow uncured composite part, introducing a pressure differential causing the rescue bladder to inflate and press the internal bladder against an inner surface of the hollow uncured composite part.


Patent
Spirit Aerosystems | Date: 2014-08-04

Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to an epoxy shape memory copolymer by copolymerizing a mixture comprising multifunctional epoxide reagent, triglycidyl ether diluent, catalyst, and at least one aromatic alcohol curing agent of Formula I: wherein R1 and R5 are H, alkyl, aryl, or alkoxy, but not CH_(3)OH and R2, R3 or R4 are H, OH, alkyl, aryl, alkoxy or CH_(3)OH with the proviso that at least one of R2, R3 or R4 is YOH, wherein Y is an alkyl.


Patent
Spirit Aerosystems | Date: 2015-02-04

A system and method for heat-treating a titanium part. The system may include foil, adhesive tape, and a localized heat source. The foil may include two sheets of foil made of a material more reactive (more prone to oxidize) than the titanium part, and the localized heat source may include a heating element mostly surrounded by insulation. The method may include taping the foil to opposing sides of the titanium part, thus sealing a portion of the titanium part to be heat treated from external atmosphere. The method may also include heating and placing the localized heat source near or against the foil until heat treating is complete. A small amount of air remaining between the heated foil and the titanium part has a preferential reaction with the foil, since it is more reactive than the titanium part. This prevents oxidation of the titanium part during localized heat treating.


A through-transmission ultrasonic (TTU) inspection system for ultrasonic inspection of a part and for determining alignment calibration data for increased alignment accuracy. The TTU inspection system may include first and second end effectors located on opposite sides of the part, each having at least one transducer for transmitting or receiving ultrasonic or sound waves through the part. The TTU inspection system may also include actuators and a system controller. The system controller may command the actuators to actuate the first end effector according to one or more scanning patterns, while the transducers send and/or receive signals to or from each other through the part. The system controller may use signal strength measurements received along these scanning patterns to determine alignment calibration data for applying to the first end effector and/or its associated actuators.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Business, Innovation & Skills Financed | Award Amount: 3.93M | Year: 2015

A collaborative ATI project has been developed to address a number of challenges currently facing the aerospace industry. The collaboration is led by Spirit AeroSystems (Europe), the largest independent Tier 1 “design and build” supplier to the aerospace industry whose main UK facility is located next to Prestwick International Airport. The partners are Aeromet International and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the former being a world leader in the production of Aluminium and Magnesium sand castings and Aluminium investment castings. The AMRC is a High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult focusing on developing manufacturing solutions for industry across a wide range of sectors. The overarching aim of the Programme is to help sustain UK aerospace jobs and ensure that the UK consolidates its position as the second largest global aerospace supplier currently with a market value and share of £24 billion and 17%, respectively. The scope of the technical work will align with both the Protect and Exploit element of the Governmental PEP model developed by the Aerospace Growth Partnership AGP as part of the industrial strategy and has the following key objectives: -manufacturing process improvement of legacy products to facilitate rate increase requirements for the industries OEMs; -creation of opportunities for on-shoring of aerospace component work packages to maintain the long-term security of the UK manufacturing base; the development, testing and validation of complex integrated manufacturing processes associated with composite aircraft wing technology. -The ATI initiative provides Spirit and Aeromet with the opportunity to benefit from financial support to develop their technologies for use on current on future commercial aircraft. AMRC will help the industrial partners de-risk the technical and financial barriers through the collaborative development of the new technologies.

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