The invention of aircraft has revolutionized commerce, travel, and transportation. And as hundreds of aircraft are manufactured each year, and hundreds flying in the sky each day, it is worth asking just how exactly are these man-made marvels of technology made so that they can take to the sky. And while the process and techniques of manufacturing airplanes and other types of aircraft have changed over the past several decades, the main aspects have remained relatively the same.
While certain aspects of the manufacturing process of airplanes differ from one type of aircraft to another, this article will focus on business jets – jets that typically carry 5-15 passengers – to explain the concept.
The Manufacturing of the Aircraft Components
The production of an airplane is not done all in one piece. Each major component of the aircraft is handled instead. The fuselage and body, the tail, the wings, the landing gear, the jet engine, and the flight control system are each manufactured and prepared before completing the final stages of the aircraft manufacturing process.
And while the volume of aircraft manufacturing is much less than that of automobile manufacturing, the industry still employs an assembly line for a more streamlined and standardized system of production.
Since each major component of the aircraft is prepared and produced independently first, one crucial and major equipment used in the aircraft production process is the floor assembly jig (FAJ). These FAJs help align and support each of these components and other pieces so they can be ready to be fixed onto each other accurately.
The first component that gets manufactured is the fuselage. This part of the aircraft manufacturing process handles several subcomponents, the first of which is the aft cabin barrel, followed by the forward cabin and nose. The tail cone sections of the aircraft are also prepared and assembled while the aft cabin barrel, forward cabin, and nose are being made.
The tail section of the plane is produced after the fuselage and the main body. The tail manufacturing process involves the rudder, horizontal stabilizer, elevators, and the fin. Much more technologically advanced components are used in this process than than had been used in the past. In fact, Used Avionics can contain parts that obsolete, but can be very valuable.
The next stage of the airplane manufacturing process involves the production and assembly of the wings, including the flaps and ailerons, and the center and outboard wing sections.
The Landing Gear, Jet Engine, and Flight Control Systems
The assembly of the landing gear involves the manufacturing of the main landing gear as well as the nose landing gear. Once those components are complete, the jet engine is then assembled, followed by the last component: the flight control systems.
The final stage is the assembly of all the components together to produce the complete aircraft. The plane then undergoes inspections and quality tests before it is allowed to fly.