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Introduction to Composites Fabrication and Assembly in Aerospace, Space, and Transportation C1311

The challenges associated with using composites as a replacement for aluminum reside primarily in the complex manufacturing processes and technologies for fabricating composite parts. The high cost of composites material and its manufacturing complexity have been inhibitors to the wide transfer of this technology to the non-aerospace market. The search for solutions to high manufacturing costs and efficient manufacturing processes have resulted in intense research by government, aerospace industry companies, and space agencies worldwide.

This one day seminar will introduce participants to composites technologies that have applications beyond aerospace, including such markets as trucks, automobiles, and wind turbines. The instructor will define, illustrate, and describe the innovative manufacturing processes and technologies that have been used to solve the “composite challenge” for aerospace and space vehicles. The information presented in this seminar, derived from the successful application and demonstration of these technologies and processes on flight hardware, will serve to provide solutions for the manufacturing processes and technology challenges that have slowed the migration of this technology beyond the aerospace and space industries.

Attendees will receive a copy of the textbook, Automated/Mechanized Drilling and Countersinking of Airframes, by instructor George (Nick) Bullen.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Define the current state of composites manufacturing
  • Evaluate critical emerging technologies that will enable expansion of composites
  • Identify innovative manufacturing processes that enable low cost composite manufacturing
  • Determine the critical features for successful composite part assembly
  • Evaluate the key characteristics of various composites manufacturing processes

Who Should Attend
This seminar is intended for individuals looking for information related to efficient solutions for composites manufacturing and includes engineering disciplines from manufacturing, design, industrial, tooling, quality, and mechanical. In addition, non-engineering management and staff will benefit from information presented in this seminar.

There are no prerequisites for the course.

  • Composites in Aerospace and Space Launch Vehicles
    • Introduction
    • Advantages
    • Disadvantages
    • Design Considerations
    • Manufacturing Considerations
  • Composites in Inhabited and Uninhabited Aerial and Space Vehicles
    • Introduction
    • Advantages
    • Disadvantages
    • Design Considerations
    • Manufacturing Considerations
  • Max Launch Abort System (MLAS): An Example of Innovation
    • Concept of Operations
    • Major Structural Components
    • Innovative Manufacturing of Structural Components
  • Quality Assessment (Parts)
    • Introduction
    • Forensic Engineering
    • MLAS Forensic Engineering
    • Collecting Data
    • Defect Determination (Cause)
    • Defect Resolution (Corrective Action)
  • Vehicle Assembly
    • Innovative Assembly Process
    • Mass Properties Alignment
    • Assembly Fit and Function
  • Vehicle Flight or Launch
    • Transport
    • Launch Stand
    • Performance
  • Recovery
    • Retrieval
    • Forensics
    • Composites Performance Assessment
  • Future Applications
    • Unified Structure
    • In-situ Manufacturing
    • In-flight and In-Space Composite Concerns and Considerations
    • ALTAIR
  • Extensibility
    • Road Vehicles
    • Wind Turbines
    • Lifting and Support Devices

George (Nick) Bullen

George N Bullen has returned to Northrop Grumman Corporation as Technical Fellow and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development and Innovation.

bullen_george" Mr. Bullen is an internationally recognized expert and consultant to industry for the manufacture of commercial, military, and private fixed and rotary wing air vehicles, rockets, missiles, and space vehicles. His expertise includes inhabited and uninhabited aerial vehicles, space vehicle design and manufacture, laser weapon system design and manufacture, and lean processes and applications.  He has been engaged with the design-through-manufacture of over 72 air and space vehicles since 1968 in aerospace. He has been awarded 16 U.S. and international patents for technology innovations related to manufacturing, mechanization, robotics, robotics control software, and nuclear testing/quality metrology devices, that are the basis for all current automated systems for the assembly of airframes in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Russia. He recently filed patent applications for industry recognized disruptive metrology technologies that are emerging as the standard for automating the assembly of airframes. George N Bullen is a Fellow in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, (FSME); Certified in Production and Inventory Control Management, (CPIM); has an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, BSMG degree from Pepperdine University; ASBA degree from Mesa College and is currently finishing his PhD in Decision Sciences, Engineering Research. Mr. Bullen has published five books on the manufacture and assembly of airframes including Automated/Mechanized Drilling and Countersinking of Airframes, The Economics of Composites, and Aluminum Auto Body Joining published by SAE International; and Successful Composites Technology Transfer, Lessons Learned from NASA’s MLAS Program published by SME.  His next book The Future of the Airplane Factory: Digitally Optimized Intelligent Airplane Assembly is due to be published in late 2018. He is widely published in magazines, conference proceedings, and peer-review journals. In 2014 he received SAE International’s Forest McFarland Award, and in 2000 the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design Engineering Award for significant advances in aerospace engineering. In December 2010 he retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) after 28 years.  His responsibility at Northrop Grumman Corp. was to identify; develop and implement innovative enabling business processes and technologies for accomplishing the strategic vision of the corporation.

He maintains membership on academic boards of major universities; is a member of the strategic planning and steering committees of professional societies; and is founder of the International Aerospace Automation Consortium. He also is a board member of the RFID supply chain governing body, EPC Global.

Hotel & Travel Information

Fees: $835.00
SAE Members: $668.00 - $752.00

.7 CEUs
You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

For additional information, contact SAE Customer Service 1-877-606-7323 (724-776-4970 outside the U.S. and Canada) or at

Duration: 1 Day
Upcoming open enrollment dates being scheduled. Please check back.