Bombardier Aerospace - revitalising the British aircraft industry
Mike Hatrick, Keith Campbell, Edwin Beattie, Finbarr McEvoy and Joel Bennett from
Bombardier Aerospace are responsible for a radical new aircraft engine nacelle design.
The engine nacelle is the aerodynamic structure that surrounds an aircraft engine and often contains a thrust reverser. The thrust reverser is deployed to help control a landing aircraft on normal or icy runways or during an aborted take-off.
This young team's innovation came about after consultation with customers and engine manufacturers. The result is an important step forward in terms of simplification of design, manufacturing and maintenance of the engine nacelle.
The new natural blockage thrust reverser design reduces the number of components that need regular replacing leading to increased reliability. The natural blockage thrust reverser out-performs standard designs by more than 50 per cent. Aircraft can be stopped quicker and the engines can be run slower (reducing wear and tear) whilst still achieving the required reverse thrust.
The new thrust reverser also has better acoustic performance, meeting current and future restrictions on aircraft noise as well as lowering the costs of aircraft operation.
Meeting customer's needs
The patented K-frame mounting system of the nacelle enables easier access to the engine for maintenance as it is no longer necessary to have a powered opening system in order to gain access to the engine within the nacelle. In the new design, the doors of the nacelle are linked together with a counterbalancing mechanism so that they can easily be opened and closed by one person. Faster access for maintenance allows aircraft to turn around in a much shorter period.
The new nacelle design has been successfully built onto Bombardiers' new regional aircraft, the CRJ700, and there are plans to incorporate it into the larger CRJ900. With over
£0.5Bn in the CRJ700 order book, this technology is set to have a real impact on the Bombardier sales figures, securing its operation in Northern Irelands aerospace industry.