Airbus, U.S. airline flight test GKN Aerospace hydrophobic coating for cockpit windows

Airbus, U.S. airline flight test GKN Aerospace hydrophobic coating for cockpit windows

The solution is designed to deliver rain protection, damage tolerance, and surface hardness over the life of a window.
Officials at an as-yet-unnamed airline in the U.S. is assessing a new hydrophobic coating developed by GKN Aerospace materials science and engineering specialists in Garden Grove, Calif., for cockpit windows on its commercial passenger aircraft. GKN Aerospace debuted the new materials science technology, which Airbus engineers are also flight-trialing on the airframe manufacturer’s flight-test aircraft, during Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England, in July 2018. The solution is designed to deliver rain protection, damage tolerance, and surface hardness over the life of a window.
 

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Officials at an as-yet-unnamed airline in the U.S. is assessing a new hydrophobic coating developed by GKN Aerospace materials science and engineering specialists in Garden Grove, Calif., for cockpit windows on its commercial passenger aircraft. GKN Aerospace debuted the new materials science technology, which Airbus engineers are also flight-trialing on the airframe manufacturer’s flight-test aircraft, during Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England, in July 2018.
 
Developed in GKN Aerospace’s transparencies center of excellence, the permanent surface treatment delivers in-flight and ground operation rain shedding and significantly enhances resistance to surface abrasion, company officials say. The new GKN Aerospace technology is a permanent solution that needs to be applied once in the lifetime of a window, opposed to existing materials that require repeat application every six to eight months, dependent on flight hours and conditions.
 
“Our new hydrophobic technology proves to be a unique solution that seamlessly fits the demand of our transparencies customers for less maintenance and reduced weight and costs,” GKN Aerospace Special Products CEO Gavin Wesson explains. “This technology could potentially eliminate the need for windscreen wipers on cockpit windows.
Test results indicate the surface treatment is more durable to wiper-related damage and scratching than untreated glass, which reduces scratch- or abrasion-related window removals.
 
“Our new hydrophobic technology proves to be a unique solution that seamlessly fits the demand of our transparencies customers for less maintenance and reduced weight and costs,” GKN Aerospace Special Products CEO Gavin Wesson explains. “This technology could potentially eliminate the need for windscreen wipers on cockpit windows. It is great that we can now further assess this innovative product together with Airbus and one of the global airline operators.”
 
GKN Aerospace, with headquarters in Redditch, England, is a global, multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier serving the world’s aircraft manufacturers. GKN Aerospace develops, builds, and supplies an extensive range of advanced aerospace systems, components, and technologies for use in aircraft ranging from helicopters and business jets to the most-used, single-aisle aircraft and the largest passenger planes in the world. Lightweight composites, additive manufacturing, innovative engine systems, and smart transparencies help to reduce emissions and weight on the aircraft and enhance passenger comfort. GKN Aerospace provides aerostructures, engine systems, transparencies, and wiring systems and operates in 14 countries at 51 manufacturing locations employing approximately 17,000 people.
 

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Courtney E. Howard is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group. Contact her by e-mail at courtney.howard@sae.org
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