Floatplanes With Superhydrophobic Nanostructures Coatings

As a designer and innovator type, I often see applications for new scientific research and discoveries. I’d like to explain what I mean with a little example if I might. In this case study, I will be discussing float planes and sea planes, specifically how to make them safer and more efficient. Each time you make an aircraft more efficient, you add to its performance, and this directly translates to lower fuel consumption, thus, greater range, faster climb rate, or lower weight, meaning greater payload. It’s just an all-around good thing.

Okay so, there was an interesting article in Popular Mechanics titled; “Shark Skin Will Inspire Faster Swimsuits and Airplanes – Using a 3D printer, scientists build an artificial skin with microscopic features similar to a shark’s,” by Charles Q. Choi, published on May 15, 2014. The article stated:

“Sharks are known for their jaws lined with razor-sharp teeth, but their skin also contributes to their ferocity. It’s covered with tooth-like scales-structures known as denticles that make shark skin rough like sandpaper. Scientists have long suspected these denticles make sharks faster, more maneuverable by disrupting the flow of water over the fish reducing any drag holding them back. Now, scientists have fabricated the most realistic artificial shark skin yet. Published in Journal of Experimental Biology it confirms the structure can improve swimming performance, and could lead to better swimming robots.”

We already all know about how this improved Olympic Swimmer swimsuits and was therefore banned from the sport. There was another article in Znet, but it was published back in late May of 2010; “A sharkskin coating for ships, planes and blades – German researchers develop a paint that mimics the aerodynamics of shark scales. Could this mean smoother sailing for ships, soaring for planes, and spinning for wind turbines?” written by Melissa Mahony.

Recently, there have been some rather interesting research discoveries on the nanoscale, specifically coating technology – superhydrophobic coatings. Now then, it would make sense to double up here. Why not coat the floats on a float plane with these coatings but first use the shark skin topography? As the aircraft moves faster through the water and comes up on the step have shark skin design spread out more for best efficiency and design for speeds through the water corresponding full-weight take off speed. Meanwhile the coating allows the aircraft to get to that speed faster.

When it comes to sea planes, with outer wing floats, the floats would be the same as above, but in this case the hull would be coated along with bottom sides of empennage, including horizontal stabilizers, allowing the water to move off the aircraft easily, lowering weight and improving airflows. Please consider all this. It should be done and no one is doing it yet from my studies. Now perhaps some brilliant aerospace designers are, great, more should follow them.

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Fiber Optic Embedded Aerospace Structural Grid Sensory System

Fiber optics are used for so many things in our modern society, as it turns out to be a very good way to send information quickly. But did you know that fiber optics work well in security fences too? How does this work you ask? Well, the fiber optics strands are laid across a surface and looped and reconnected, so if anyone breaks the connection the wires can indicate exactly where the break is and alert the system. This may sound complicated, but it really isn’t and there are many patents explaining how this works if you do a Google Patent Search – each one refers to the others.

Now then, I propose we use such a system in aircraft structures; fuselages, wings, tails, control surfaces, wing pylons, motor mounts, landing gear, and important substructures (Cite: 1). If there is a break the system will immediately know about it. So could such a fiber optic mesh strategy work along rivet lines and ribs, stringers help prevent crashes? I believe so, you see over the years I’ve noticed lots of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directives (AD’s) and constantly read relevant National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports on crashes, incursions and incidents concerning commercial, corporate and private aircraft.

Now then, this might be difficult to do in older aircraft, but it would be easy to do during production. Think of the ability of such a fiber optic mesh system along the fuselage of a Boeing 737 which is notorious for having failed rivets and skin on the upper fuselage from corrosion and fatigue (Cite 2), and this isn’t taking anything away from Boeing as the Boeing 737 is one of the greatest aircraft ever built and they are still building them; The Boeing 737 MAX is backordered by over 2,000 aircraft right now – I am just using this as an example of just how valuable such a system could be for airline safety.

What about the older seaplane (Grumman G-73) that crashed out in the harbor off Miami due to structural failure and corrosion? How about older C-130s with wing box failures? (Cite: 3) How about all the old military aircraft that are well beyond their years like the Aerial Tankers, B-52s, F-15s, F-16s, A-10s? See my point here? As engineers we know where the stresses are most likely to occur and even if we build these aircraft structures for 150% of expected abuse, we still need to know when those structures have reached their limits and damage has occurred. Why tear apart and aircraft for inspection when we can know if everything is already intact?

This is the same principle with bridges, buildings in known Earthquake regions. Aircraft are often expected to fly in adverse conditions and Murphy seems to be an often unwanted co-pilot. Please consider all this and think on it.


1. “Aircraft Design Sketch Book,” published by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank CA, 1940..

2. “Evaluation of Flight Data from an Airworthy Structural Health Monitoring System Integrally Embedded in an Unmanned Air Vehicle,” by I. KRESSEL, et. al., published at the 6th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring – Tu.4.A.4.

3. “The interaction between corrosion management and structural integrity of aging aircraft,” by A. JAYA, U. H. TIONG, and G. CLARK, Blackwell Publishing, 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2695.2011.01562.x. Published in the Journal of Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures, Volume 35, Issue 1, pages 64-73, January 2012.

Exceptional Fixed Base Operator Service in Aviation

Fixed Base Operators, or FBOs as they are often known, refer to the commercial businesses and companies that operate on airport grounds to offer a broad range of services to private aircraft operators. FBOs serve a number of parties, including corporate flight departments, individuals, Aircraft Charter & Management (ACM) companies, and airlines. The services of FBOs are important for a number of reasons, primarily to ensure the smooth working operations of private aircraft at major airports. Over the years, the demand for fixed base operators has increased immensely around the world, and there is a broad range of services that these companies can provide. Here are some of the aspects worth knowing.

1. When it comes to FBOs, the services can be diverse, as mentioned. They deal with some of the everyday requirements of aviation, such as fueling, aircraft handling, hangering, tie-down services, Aircraft Charter & Management (ACM), aircraft Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO), and aircraft sales. FBOs also provide facilities for private terminal operations, pilot lounges, flight planning facilities and more.

2. Many parties, especially ACM operators, corporate flight departments, and private aircraft owners, choose an FBO to provide a seamless customer experience. They take care of all the required services and ensure that passengers and crew members have no issues impacting their flight operations. As there are few limitations on what an FBO company can do, these services may often include assisting airlines in their commercial operations. Also, they help immensely in concierge services and related assistance for flight crews and pilots.

3. Many FBO management companies also deal in aircraft management and advisory service, depending on the services they are required to perform. If you are an investor and are looking for an FBO management company, it is critical to diligence the capabilities and experience of the companies you are evaluating. When it comes to management and related services in the field of aviation, on-airport experience is the key to excellent service. Some companies are capable of providing turnkey aviation management services in a wide range of sectors, including FBO, MRO and ACM.

Hiring an FBO for management services can help in bringing professionalism to the entire work procedure. If you haven’t experienced an FBO’s services yet, it makes sense to talk to a few fixed base operators to understand the capabilities and value they bring to the table. FBOs can help in streamlining the entire workflow of private aircraft operations, and they have expertise in increasing the efficiency of operations. Before you make the final contract, talk to the preferred company about the full range of services they offer, so that you can make an informed decision which meets your needs.. It is wise to develop a specific scope of work with detailed pricing. Also, you should ask for several references, both financial and aviation industry related.