SAE 2015 AeroTech Congress & Exhibition

September 22-24, 2015

Seattle, Washington, USA

Washington State Convention Center

SAE President Greaves speaks to importance of upcoming AeroTech conference

President Richard W. Greaves, Ph.D. During a recent visit to SAE International World Headquarters, 2015 President Richard W. Greaves, Ph.D., the first SAE President in nine years to come from the aerospace sector, discussed the upcoming SAE 2015 AeroTech Congress & Exhibition. Following is an excerpt of his remarks:

Why is AeroTech important to you, and what would you say to anyone thinking about attending?
"The second part of the question is easiest, as the answer is, 'You should.' As for the first part, aerospace is global. We have a global set of standards to which aircraft are built, wherever they're built. It doesn't matter whether it's China, India, Indonesia, or America. We require international standards that all aircraft, anywhere in the world, should conform to. SAE is the number one organization for aerospace standards. Anyone connected with aerospace should be coming to SAE events. We're not just simply recording what's being done in the past; we're also looking to the future. The theme of the conference, "Global Partners: Shaping the Future of Aerospace," that's what it's all about. What are these new technologies? What role is SAE playing? It brings all of the engineers together in a forum to be able to discuss the future and present their technical papers on different aspects of the future."

What are a few major aerospace industry trends that make AeroTech a particularly timely and useful forum in which to address them?
"It's timely because the civil air transport sector is in the midst of transition from existing models, single-aisle models like 737 into 737 MAX and A320 into A320neo. Preparatory to what will probably be around in the mid-2020s, the next-generation single-aisle aircraft, which we'll be introducing by an enormous amount of new technology, is not yet defined. What's the wing structure going to be? What kind of engines will we be using? Will it be open rotor? There are a lot of open issues about the next generation of aircraft. This is timely. The normal development life cycle of aircraft, you're talking easily 10 years from idea to entry into service. Here we are 10 years in front of 2025. This is the time to be really getting to grips with what new technologies will be incorporated into these aircraft.

"We can look at various issues, such as 'more electric.' To what degree will the next-generation aircraft be electric? Clearly, more enhanced compared to today's aircraft. They may not be totally electric. What are the manufacturing technologies going to be? Additive manufacturing is becoming almost a paradigm shift; this could really be something that changes the way in which we make aircraft. What is the role that SAE is going to be playing in the additive manufacturing scheme of things in the future?

"A common threat to us is cybersecurity. Cybersecurity will be talked about at this conference, and it's something that goes across the sectors. It's not just aerospace. This affects all of us; particularly the automotive sector, the commercial vehicle sector, and so on. There are various issues in front of us. It could be emissions, which is a big issue. We're talking about climate change. There may not be a common approach that SAE can take between the mobility sectors, because we use different kinds of fuel, but it is an issue. It's a common issue. It's one that SAE could be perhaps addressing."

How have you personally and professionally benefited from participating in and attending AeroTech?
"I would go back a lot further to 1981 when I joined SAE and attended my first technical committee. Being a young engineer at the time, I was able to meet fellow professionals a lot older and more experienced than me, and I was able to learn from them. I think the root benefit of joining technical committees is that it enables you to learn and contribute toward worldwide standards within our industry. Specifically talking about AeroTech, I think it brings together the professionals of the industry to help shape the future. I think that's key."

What is the most exciting component of this year's event?
"The cybersecurity and global manufacturing components are very important. We've been very fortunate in getting some eminent speakers this year that I'm particularly impressed with. I like the idea of the future of commercial transportation. I've spent most of my life in commercial transport and air transport, rather than military and defense. I would be very interested in listening to the "Global Airlines and Future of Commercial Transportation" panel discussion, as to how they see commercial air transport evolving over the next few years. I've always been interested in long-term strategy, which is 10 to 20 years, not the next five years. Everyone knows what's going to happen in the next five years, but beyond that you're a bit into the unknown. I'm hoping to be able to gain insight by listening to some preeminent people who are going to be contributing to this panel."

For additional program information and to secure your registration at the event, please visit