Saint-Gobain Flight Structures (Ravenna, Ohio), a business unit of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, announced on Nov. 28, 2007, that it has signed a long-term contract with Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan.) to supply Norton high-performance radomes for the The Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner. Saint-Gobain will deliver the nose radomes to Spirit AeroSystems for installation on the forward section of the 787 before the assembly is transported to Boeing’s 787 assembly plant in Seattle.
Patrice Lallement, sales and marketing manager for Saint-Gobain Flight Structures, comments, “The Norton design provides … the 787 operator with the best weather radar performance and excellent service life.”
The 787’s nose radome is 7 ft/2.2m in diameter and provides a protective, electromagnetically transparent cover for the weather radar and antennas located on the nose of the aircraft.
“This is the largest quartz radome structure that Saint-Gobain has ever designed and manufactured for commercial aviation,” according to Dan Orwig, district sales manager for Saint-Gobain Flight Structures. Saint-Gobain introduced quartz/epoxy radomes to commercial aviation more than 15 years ago, he adds. The radome incorporates Saint-Gobain’s trademarked Quartzel quartz fibers. The added structural strength, good thermal performance and high radar transparency of quartz, according to Orwig, provide significant advantages over other materials.
The company recently expanded its Ravenna facility to make room for manufacture of aerospace composite parts in addition to radomes, including cargo doors, wing tips, access panels, fairings and other components for commercial and general aviation aircraft. Eric Hilliard, the company’s business manager for flight structures, says that with the expansion, “we have the ability to rapidly design, build and FAA-certify composite components for both OEM production and the aftermarket.”
Saint-Gobain Flight Structures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., which, in turn, is wholly owned by Companie de Saint-Gobain of Paris, France.