SOURCE: Flightware


January 19, 2010 09:00 ET

Improved Hydraulic Tubing for High Performance Aircraft Is Goal of Navy Development Program

PATUXENT RIVER, MD--(Marketwire - January 19, 2010) - The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Flightware of Guilford, CT a contract to develop a process to significantly improve the life and toughness of hydraulic tubing used in Naval aircraft. The objective is to make these parts much less sensitive to small flaws like scratches and to substantially reduce costs associated with maintaining hydraulic lines of aircraft in service.

"Hydraulics operates the flight controls, landing gear and other aircraft systems, so they must be extremely reliable," says a Navy Engineer. The tubing that carries hydraulic fluids is made from lightweight titanium instead of heavier stainless steel. The hydraulic system also operates at pressures up to 5,000 psi, whereas earlier systems operated at lower pressure.

While these changes save considerable weight, titanium tubing has proven to be difficult to maintain. The life of the tubing is significantly reduced by very small scratches, which can occur during routine handling and maintenance on the aircraft. Present practice is to remove and replace any titanium hydraulic line with the barest visible scratch, regardless of how minor it may appear, to assure the highest level of safety.

Under the program, Flightware will develop a process applied to pre-formed titanium tubes to substantially improve their life and tolerance to flaws such as scratches. Called "inverse autofrettage," the method is a batch process where many units are processed at one time for lower unit cost. The process does not require computer control like other surface treatments such as laser shock peening and waterjet cavitation peening and can be easily performed. Flightware has filed a provisional patent on the process.

About Flightware

Flightware is a research and development firm developing technologies focused on aerospace and defense applications. New products and services are funded largely through US Government contracts and commercialized thorough partnerships, licenses and other collaborative activities with established firms serving target markets. Founded in 1990, Flightware is located in Guilford, CT.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    David Maass
    Phone: 203 458 0722
    Fax: 425 940 6202

    829 Podunk Road
    Guilford, CT 06437
    Phone: 203 458 0722
    Fax: 425 940 6202