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As the United States military embarked to build the second ever fifth-generation fighter aircraft, Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division (FSD) was selected in the mid-1990s to provide the fuel system and the onboard inert gas generating system (OBIGGS) for the F-35 Lightning II program. The scope and complexity of this program posed a significant challenge to the FSD engineering team, and required the breadth of knowledge and capabilities of the team to successfully deliver a qualified fuel and fuel tank inerting system.
Parker was responsible for the system architecture, system analysis, design, development, and qualification of all the components within the fuel and fuel tank inerting systems. FSD was uniquely qualified to provide the fuel and inerting system for this aircraft due to our long history of providing fuel system components in military applications and our ability to furnish all of the necessary components within the F-35 fuel and fuel tank inerting systems. These systems utilize over 130 unique components with a total part count approaching 270 per aircraft.
Fuel tank inerting on the F-35
For the F-35 program, there were additional challenges to design the fuel and inert gas generation system for three different aircraft variants for specific branches of the military. Each variant had different performance requirements which drove different fuel and inerting system architectures. Parker was able to utilize common hardware between all three aircraft variants even though the system architectures were unique.
System development and qualification processes are closely aligned to reduce development and certification risks.
Parker also developed new relationships and partnerships with international suppliers in order to meet performance and cost targets for the program.
Parker Fluid Systems Division is proud of the work accomplished on the F-35 Lightning II program. The F-35 is the fifth generation of fighter aircraft for the United States and represents numerous technological advancements for military aviation. Parker’s contributions on the aircraft continue the company’s legacy of involvement on aircraft from the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 to today’s F-35 Lightning II.
F-35 advocacy event
In August of 2017, Lockheed Martin chose Parker Aerospace for a special advocacy event. Local area leaders attending the event featured 45th District Congresswoman Mimi Walters who addressed the audience and included California state assembly members, four mayors, three city council members, chamber of commerce representatives, county supervisor staffers, key Parker suppliers, and Lockheed Martin leaders. Hosted by Parker Aerospace Group Vice President of Operations Guy Martin, the event focused on the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft, which is playing a significant role in the defense strategy for the United States, its nine partner countries, and three foreign military sale customers.
Group Vice President of Operations Guy Martin hosted the event. The F-35 simulator is seen on the left.
Within Parker Aerospace, the F-35 provided more than 350 jobs and supported over 300 suppliers over the past year. The biggest star of the event, however, was the full-size F-35 cockpit simulator that Lockheed Martin brought to the Alton facility. More than 300 employees were given the opportunity to participate in a briefing, lesson, and flight session inside the cockpit simulator in the two days before the event. With the conclusion of the event speeches, local dignitaries attending were given their own chance to fly the simulator.
Parker team member Jeffrey Nazar gets hands-on instruction for the controls of the F-35 from a Lockheed Martin trainer experienced flying the aircraft.
Two other highlights of the event included an extensive display of F-35 aircraft components manufactured by Parker Aerospace and a comprehensive tour of the Control Systems Division facility. Components displayed included a refueling receptacle, fuel pumps, hoses, fittings, swivel joints, electrohydrostatic actuator, motor-driven pump, rudder actuator, and horizontal tail actuator.
Jacque Becwar (right) gives a tour of the F-35 production cell to Congresswoman Mimi Walters (left) and an audience of local officials, Parker suppliers, and Parker team members.
Parker Aerospace has an impressive bill of material on the three variants of the F-35 aircraft. This includes flight control components, fuel and inerting system components, engine subsystems, and other airframe components. Our work on the aircraft has included specification, design, simulation, integration, testing, certification, production, and support. You can learn more about the F-35 aircraft by visiting F35.com.
For additional information about Parker Aerospace products and innovations, please visit our website.
This blog was contributed by David Brockman, business development manager, Fluid Systems Division of Parker Aerospace.
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28 Mar 2018
Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division (FSD) has been a major supplier of aircraft fuel tank inerting systems and components since the 1960s. Fuel tank inerting systems create a non-combustible atmosphere in the air space or ullage gas present over the liquid fuel in an aircraft fuel tank. This non-combustible or inert atmosphere prevents a fire from occurring inside the fuel tank. The means by which that inert atmosphere is created has evolved considerably over the last 50 years and Parker has remained at the forefront of each technology advancement.
Nitrogen and Halon for military aircraft
Fuel tank inerting systems were initially developed to help protect military aircraft from hazards unique to combat and supersonic aircraft. Parker’s first aircraft fuel tank inerting system was a cryogenic liquid nitrogen (LN2) system used on the supersonic XB-70 aircraft. The LN2 system extracts liquid nitrogen from cryogenic-storage dewars installed onboard the aircraft, vaporizes the liquid into gaseous nitrogen and sends it to the fuel tanks to provide an inert blanket over the top of the fuel. Several research programs conducted by the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) subsequent to the XB-70 also used Parker LN2 inerting equipment. In the early 1970s, LN2 technology produced by Parker Aerospace was put into regular service on all C-5 aircraft. This system remains in service today.
The evolution of fuel tank inerting systems away from the complexities of cryogenic LN2 systems to Halon-based systems followed in the late 1970s. Halon inerting systems discharge a fire-suppressing agent into the fuel tanks to create an inert atmosphere over the fuel. Parker proliferated Halon inerting equipment on programs such as the F-16 and F-117A. Like the LN2 systems that came before them, Halon inerting systems require a fixed amount of inertant to be loaded and stored on the aircraft before each flight. The capacity of these stored gas systems is limited to the amount of inertant that is carried onboard the aircraft.
Hollow-fiber membrane air separation module advancements
In the 1980s and 1990s, advances in hollow-fiber membrane air separation technology enabled nitrogen to be generated onboard an aircraft from atmospheric air. Air separation modules (ASMs) contain thousands of these hollow-fiber membranes and are the heart of the contemporary fuel tank inerting system. High-pressure air enters the ASM and is separated into nitrogen-enriched and oxygen-enriched air streams. The nitrogen-enriched air stream is directed to the fuel tank to provide a blanket of inert gas over the top of the liquid fuel in the tank.
The development of the ASM for aircraft use enabled a new class of inerting system that does not require inertant to be stored and carried onboard the aircraft. Inerting systems using Parker-supplied ASM technology were explored on several advanced aircraft programs and culminated in the widespread use of Parker ASMs on the F-22.
Fuel tank inerting comes to commercial aircraft
For many years, fuel tank inerting systems remained exclusively within the realm of military aircraft and were perceived to be unnecessary and impractical for use on commercial airliners. However, the loss of TWA 800 in 1996 forced a re-examination of the fuel tank safety paradigm for commercial transport aircraft. Between 1996 and 2001, an extraordinary body of work was performed by a consortium of industrial, academic and governmental researchers to determine viable means by which to improve fuel tank safety on commercial transport aircraft.
Parker led the way in demonstrating how hollow fiber membrane-based ASM technology developed for military aircraft applications could be implemented in a practical and viable way on commercial transport aircraft. Parker also worked closely with FAA and provided inerting equipment and expertise in support of a flight test program using the FAA’s 747SP. Technology advances demonstrated in this time frame ultimately paved the way for new rulemaking for fuel tank safety which was implemented by the FAA in 2008.
Modern aircraft inerting
Since 2008, inerting systems and equipment provided by Parker FSD have been installed on almost every large commercial airliner in domestic service today. In fact, Parker’s aircraft inerting systems and equipment are in operation on well over 10,000 aircraft worldwide. Parker FSD maintains its leadership position through a close working relationship with its sister division in the Parker Filtration Group, which manufactures the ASM used on many Parker inerting applications.
Parker continues to explore new ways of improving the performance as well as reducing the weight, cost and bleed air consumption of the existing ASM-based technology. At the same time, Parker is developing future inerting technologies that will be more ideally suited for helicopters, UAVs, and business jets.
For more information on Parker Fluid Systems Division products, including fuel and inerting systems, download our brochure.
This blog was contributed by Pat Fancher, engineering manager and Bryan Jensen, senior principal engineer, Parker Fluid Systems Division.
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23 Mar 2018
In 2017 Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division (FSD) achieved a significant milestone with its industry-leading fuel tank inerting technology and systems capability. The division now has inerting systems installed on over 11,000 commercial aircraft in service across 15 major aircraft platforms.
Since entering production on the Boeing 737, 757, 767, and 777 platforms in 2008, Parker’s inerting equipment has gone on to support the retrofit of the Boeing fleet as mandated by the FAA rule that kicked off the commercial aircraft inerting business in earnest. As a follow-on to the Boeing platforms, Parker won the air separation module (ASM) contract for the Airbus fleet of commercial aircraft, the A320, A330, and A340. Later, the A350 XWB was added to the mix, as were aircraft for Bombardier, Sukhoi, and COMAC.
Parker and its dedicated team have made it possible to reach these milestones over the last 10 years for Parker’s onboard inert gas generation systems (OBIGGS). This milestone also includes greater than 170,000,000 proven flight hours.
Parker’s installed commercial inerting systems are expected to grow to over 17,000 aircraft in the next five years, as current production continues and new platforms enter service.
Chengdu Airlines’ first ARJ21 (photo: COMAC)
COMAC C919 first flight (photo: Chen Cheng)
Additionally, the division is actively developing the next generation of aircraft inerting technology. While a leader in today’s membrane-based air separation module technology, the division is also pioneering new catalytic fuel tank inerting for aircraft. This version doesn’t require engine bleed air, as the current technology requires, and can expand aircraft fuel tank inerting to additional aircraft markets that don’t currently apply a fuel tank inerting system.
To learn more about Parker Fuel Systems Division products, including fuel and inerting systems, download our brochure.
15 Mar 2018
Over the last one hundred years, Parker Hannifin has been at the forefront of technology innovation. In 2017, Parker celebrated its centennial, and the advances made in aviation stand out among some of its most notable breakthroughs. From Charles Lindbergh’s first solo nonstop transatlantic flight, through World War II when the company abandoned commercial operations to focus on the defense effort, to the rapid growth of commercial air travel during the latter half of the twentieth century, Parker has been a leader in aerospace innovation. Today, the world's leading aircraft manufacturers choose Parker Aerospace as a technology partner, relying on our mastery of flight control, hydraulic, fuel, inerting, fluid conveyance, thermal management, pneumatic, and lubrication systems and components.
As we close the door on 2017, let's look back on the year and review how Parker Aerospace continued its trend of aviation innovation by delivering advancements in reliability, efficiency, safety, and customer satisfaction. Here, we've rounded up the top five most-read aerospace technology blogs of 2017.
Parker Aerospace is dedicated to continual improvement to assure even greater customer satisfaction and operational excellence. To do this, Parker Aerospace recently unveiled quality and performance initiatives that will drive the company toward zero defects and 100 percent on-time delivery to meet and exceed customer expectations. Read about the improvements in this blog.
In competition, sometimes in order to find the edge of the performance envelope, you have to come right up to it or even over it. Read how Parker Aerospace engineered the hydraulic control system on the ORACLE TEAM USA America's Cup racing yacht to perform under the harshest conditions.
Today’s sophisticated aerospace and defense electronic systems are driving significant increases in power densities, resulting in complex thermal management challenges. Whether you are a thermal design engineer looking for an efficient, dependable cooling solution to perform in the most extreme, mission-critical applications, or a program manager focusing on procuring a solution at the lowest risk and lowest cost, selecting the right thermal management system provider is critical to performance and safety. This blog offers important factors to consider when choosing a thermal management system partner.
Parker Aerospace Group’s firm commitment to program management excellence was validated when its Program Management Office (PMO) team was honored as one of three finalists out of 35 entries for the Project Management Institute’s prestigious 2016 PMO of the Year Award. The PMO Award is an international competition honoring a program management office that has demonstrated superior organizational project management abilities by adding value to its organization through its support of successful strategic initiatives. Read how Parker Aerospace achieved such an honor.
In 2016, more than 3.5 billion passengers flew on airplanes. It was the second-safest year on record for air travel. Modern air travel that is reliable and safe is only possible through vigilant maintenance of the aircraft. Parker Aerospace launched a new initiative named Parker360 to provide world-class aerospace aftermarket services. Parker360 promises to help aircraft operators and owners to continuously maintain the health of their fleets globally. Read more about it in this blog.
Now, watch this video to learn more about Parker Aerospace key markets and capabilities.
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27 Jan 2018
Aircraft lightning strikes occur more frequently than you might think. It’s estimated that on average, commercial aircraft lightning strikes occur every 1,000 hours of flight time or approximately once per year.
When a strike happens, lightning attaches itself to an extremity, such as the nose, leading edge of the wing, or wing-tip, travels along the exterior of the airplane, exits at another aircraft extremity, and continues on to hit the ground.
Up to 1 million volts can be delivered in a single lightning strike. The damage inflicted to the aircraft can vary depending on the duration of the lightning strike, the amount of lightning energy dissipated by the aircraft, and the lightning attachment and exit locations on the aircraft.
Today’s aircraft incorporate state-of-the-art composite materials, specialized computer systems, and components that are lighter in weight, and offer better reliability and longevity, but can also make them more susceptible to damage by lightning. These technological advances are prompting regular updates to strict lightning safety regulations, underscoring the priority placed on lightning protection equipment.
Aircraft manufacturers design and continually test their airplanes for lightning strike protection to keep passengers safe and protect sensitive equipment from damage.
A broad array of components and systems designed to withstand, direct, and dissipate the powerful discharge of a lightning strike are required for lightning protection. This equipment must be tested and verified by the manufacturers to meet the stringent lightning protection regulations.
Key lightning protection tests that should be conducted by manufacturers include:
Flame arrestor technology must be addressed carefully as well. Standards to be met include SFAR88 requirements with flame arrestor technology. Other flame arrestor tests include:
Parker Aerospace has recently introduced the unique-to-market, lightweight, high-pressure isolator (highly resistive union) that protects fuel system components from carrying the high current load of direct lightning strikes, yet allows safe relaxation of static charge developed through the refueling process.
When selecting lightning protection equipment and components, aircraft design engineers should consider partnering with a supplier that offers:
Parker Aerospace has been patenting, testing and manufacturing a comprehensive array of lightning-safe components and equipment for more than 70 years. Thousands of active and certified products have been designed to meet, and in many cases, exceed the stringent lightning safety requirements of the aircraft industry.
Parker’s technology is grounded on decades of proven on-wing time and durability through more than 100 million flight hours on most products. Parker’s engineered solutions include:
Parker Aerospace’s lightning test laboratory offers unique and specialized capabilities that ensure our products provide the ultimate lightning protection, certified to the most stringent commercial and military regulations for lightning, fire, and flammability. Engineers are active members of the SAE A-2 Lightning Safety Committee.
Now, watch this video to learn about Parker's extensive on-site testing capabilities for lightning and fire:
To learn more about Parker Aerospace products, download the product brochure or visit our website
This blog was contributed by the Glen Kukla, engineering site leader, Parker Fluid Systems Division.
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10 Jan 2018
30 Aug 2017