K-STATE FACULTY, SCALED COMPOSITES, PARTNER TO SUPPORT GLOBALFLYER MISSION
January 21, 2005
SALINA – Necessity is the mother of invention. And the need to modify some parts for the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer meant just that – invention – along with a unique collaboration with Kansas State University at Salina.
After the Jan. 6 repositioning of the experimental aircraft from California to Salina, a few changes needed to be made. Following the flight, a crew from Scaled Composites, the California company that designed and manufactured the GlobalFlyer, found a handful of problems that needed to be addressed.
That’s when K-State came in. Aviation maintenance students working alongside the Scaled Composites crew suggested that there may just be an engineering technology lab on campus where some of the needed parts could be made or modified.
Gail Simmonds, interim head of the K-State at Salina engineering technology department, said members of the Scaled Composites crew worked with campus faculty and students to modify and re-machine special parts for the aircraft. One of the parts that needed attention was a stainless steel heat exchanger.
“It was a new part,” Simmonds said, “because the old one had a weld break. So the Scaled crew had to do measurements and build new custom fittings to match the connections to the GlobalFlyer. Then we worked together with their crew to make it happen.”
Philip Grassa, crew chief of the airplane and an airframe and powerplant mechanic with Scaled Composites, said that working with K-State at Salina has contributed to the success of the final preparations being made to the aircraft, in anticipation of an early February record attempt.
“Being so close to the campus has benefited us tremendously,” Grassa said. “If we were just in a hangar on an airfield, we would have to figure a lot of things out ourselves. But working with the K-State students, they can point us to instructors or local resources to get the job done.”
For more information about the mission, visit http://www.globalflyer.com