497 Designing an Airplane

The Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft talks about designing an airplane. Also, Bombardier and Embraer and the market for small commercial jets, the corporate culture of Boeing, the future of the A-10 Thunderbolt, and a preliminary report from the NTSB on the fatal helicopter crash into the river.

Vashon Aircraft Chief Engineer Ken Krueger talks about designing an airplane.

The Vashon Ranger R7 flying near Mt Baker. Courtesy Vashon Aircraft.

Guest

new Ken Krueger, Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft.

Ken Krueger is Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft and principal designer of the Ranger R7 2-place aircraft.

We talk with Ken about designing an airplane. He tells us about the things that push you to design a new airplane, design objectives, and engineering reality. Ken describes the manufacturability of airplane designs and how to keep costs down through manufacturing automation, vertical integration, and the company culture. Ken explains how materials and construction affect repairability, and talks to us about engine selection, the considerations for good flying ability, and even the contribution of workforce diversity.

Ken played a tiny part in the development of large airplanes such as C-17, B-2, and F-22. He played a greater role in the design of small airplanes such as the RV-7, RV-8, RV-9, RV-10, RV-12, RV-14, and the Ranger. Along the way, he has built, owned, and maintained several airplanes, including an RV-4, an RV-6, and a single seat aircraft of his own design. This combination of education and experience gives Ken a unique perspective on successfully designing and manufacturing light aircraft in today’s world.

Ken grew up in an aviation family and his passion for aviation sparked early. He earned his pilot’s license while still a teenager and graduated a few years later from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Ken and his wife, Susan, live in Washington State and they currently own an RV-4 and a Cessna 150.

Visit the Vashon Aircraft website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Also, check out the article by Pia Bergqvist in Flying Magazine, What It’s Like to Fly the Vashon Ranger R7: The Jeep of the light-sport aircraft category makes a surprise entrance.

 

Aviation News

Boeing, Airbus Gird for New Duel in Niche Market for Small Jets

Airbus has aligned with Bombardier on the CSeries. Boeing is courting Embraer. Bombardier and Embraer have new fuel-efficient jets in the 100 – 150 seat range and orders for the smaller jets may be out there from Air France-KLM, United Continental Holdings, and JetBlue Airways.

How to Fix United Airlines’ Culture Problem

United Airlines treatment of their customers has been well documented in the press. With almost alarming frequency. Does United suffer from a corporate culture problem? If so, what can be done?

The Air Force has the money it needs for the A-10 Thunderbolt — but may soon get a new partner to help keep it in the air

What needs to happen for the A-10 to have a future, and who would have a role in keeping it flying?

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on NY Helicopter Accident

The NTSB preliminary report contains no analysis or probable cause but describes the sequence of events is described, subject to change as the investigation proceeds.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki provides an update on her flight training and tells us about her solo and experiences with a GPS.

Mentioned

After decade of restoration in Auburn, iconic ’50s airliner returning to Germany

Lufthansa L-1649 Starliner – A commercial from Lufthansa circa 1960 for a flight from Hamburg to New York on the L-1649A Starliner. In German with subtitles.

Cora VTOL: Autonomous Electric Sky Taxi from Zephyr Airworks/Kitty Hawk

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

One thought on “497 Designing an Airplane

  1. Randall W

    With regards to United;
    I was a long time customer of Continental. I have had Global Services status on United, so I have a lot of experience with the airline. The merger was horrible from the beginning. Continental always had the best customer service and it was evident from the first flight I took after the merger that United would change the culture for the worst. To this day it is still apparent when you have a continental crew vs a United crew.
    I believe the stage was set from the beginning by United management with the attitude that United BOUGHT Continental. The arrogance of United ruined a good airline.

    Just one more story for you about United. Just this morning my wife and daughter are flying to Cancun on United. We live in Houston, so United is generally our only choice. I am member of the United Club due to my frequent travel. I also receive several one time Club use passes from United that can be used by anyone. My wife and daughter had two of the one time passes with them this morning and were denied access to one of the Clubs at IAH. Told that United had recently decided to not allow one time use passes at the Clubs in IAH. What? One of your main hubs with your largest customer base and most likely the largest holders of one time passes and you won’t let your customers use them. Wow! Why even pretend to offer that as a perk.?

    Just another of the many stories I could tell about their poor decisions and understanding of customer service. Complete failure is certainly in the future of this company. History will show this as one of the great business blunders.

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