Aerospace Machining: Making Flight Possible |

Human flight could quite possibly be one of the most astonishing realities to fathom. Think about it. The average commercial airliner – such as the Boeing 747 – weights about 836,000 pounds. How could it possibly fly? Right at this very moment, there are around 5,000 airplanes flying above the U.S.A. alone, with over 60 million private and commercial takeoffs every year. Even still, most seem to take flight for granted – often forgetting what goes into making it all possible. In fact, when we typically see a plane we don’t give it a second a thought, other than the very simple “Oh, hey – that’s a plane.”While a physics lesson might be the most logical beginning to explore how flight actually happens, there’s more to it than just physics. You also rely on the plane to actually fly – and that takes quite a bit of precision. To learn about another less commonly discussed process that makes flight possible, we will explore aerospace machining.Aerospace machining is one part industrial machining and one part precision science. It typically involves processes such as CNC (computer numerical controlled) machining; reverse engineering, and rapid prototyping to provide an extremely wide variety of components for everything from missiles to airplanes.Would it be possible for the plane to take flight without landing gear? Or the missile to fly without its intricately machined components? For many of the parts and components that go into virtually everything that flies, the level of precision and quality afforded by aerospace machining is absolutely essential.For example, exhaust systems, engine mounts for OEM’s, landing gear, float fittings, and welded parts for aircraft are all provided by dedicated aerospace machining companies, working to make aerospace products much more effective, advanced, and successful. Think about the usefulness of the plane before it was introduced to modern machinery. It wasn’t capable of flying long distances, it wasn’t capable of particularly difficult maneuvers, and to be honest – it wasn’t capable of much.It wasn’t until the aerospace industry was introduced to industrial machining, advanced engineering, and CNC that aircraft were truly free to break down the barrier of distance. With more effective and reliable aerospace components, planes could be manufactured that were capable of withstanding the force and stress inherent in quickly traveling long distances. This not only allowed aircraft to do more, but it also gave the aerospace industry the opportunity to grow, drastically expanding the proliferation of aircraft.So next time you’re sitting outside and you noticed the white contrail of a jet slowly drawing a line in the sky – feel free to think about the physics that make it possible, but also think about aerospace machining. Because without aerospace machining, the planes you see today would be far different than the flying metal behemoths that seemingly defy nature. They would be light, brittle, and unreliable wood contraptions that could only travel for a short amount of time.