S.S. White Aerospace

Flexible Shaft Applications

Thrust Reverser Actuation System

A "thrust reverser" is used in turbine engine aircraft to slow the plane down after landing.  This is accomplished by redirecting the engine thrust forward through the use of actuator driven deflectors at the rear of the turbine.   Our flexible shaft assemblies provide power to the actuators that open and close the thrust reversers on pneumatic and electrically powered thrust reverser actuation systems, and are used to synchronize the actuators on hydraulically actuated systems.  Our team of engineers has many years of experience designing and manufacturing these demanding assemblies for most of the world’s aircraft.

Flap and Slat

Flap and Slat moveable wing surfaces extend, increasing wing surface and lift area for takeoff and landing. They then retract to reduce wing area and drag at higher speeds, increasing efficiency. The configuration of a flap and slat control system is very similar. Each surface is driven by two linear actuators which are connected to a transmission system centrally controlled from a power drive unit.  S.S. White flexible shafts drive the actuators that enable the flap and slats to extend and retract. 

Variable Bleed Valve System

Variable Bleed Value SyatemVariable Bleed Valves are used on all turbine aircraft engines to increase efficiency and prevent possible stalls at starting, idling, and low speed operation. S.S. White Flexible Shafts drive the actuation of VBV systems, ringing the engine circumference to drive the opening and closing of the valves. Up to a dozen flexible shafts may be used on one engine to drive the valves, which operate like doors opening and closing to adjust the airflow to the High Pressure compressor.

Fighter Jet Afterburner Nozzle Control

A fighter jet afterburner is comprised of: a set of fuel injectors, a tube, a flame holder that the fuel burns in, and an adjustable exhaust nozzle. The actuators controlling the nozzles opening and closing are driven and synchronized by a series of flexible shafts that ring the engine. These flexible shafts are highly engineered to withstand the extreme temperatures and torque loads presented by this demanding application.

Canopy Actuation

The Canopy of fighter jets is the clear dome located on the top of the fighter jet which acts as a windshield for the aircraft as well as the point of entry/exit for the pilot. The S.S. White Flexible shaft drives the actuator that enables the canopy to open and close.

Cargo Door Actuation

Large jet aircrafts use various types of actuation systems to open and close their cargo doors. Often, flexible shafts are used to transfer power from the driving motor to the ball screw actuator in the door mechanism, allowing the motor to be mounted remotely from the actuator assembly.

Windshield Wipers

In the crowded environments of aircraft cockpits it is often desirable to mount the windshield wiper motor remotely from the actuator assembly. This makes packaging easier and can help to reduce cockpit noise. Flexible shafts are routinely used for this application due to their high endurance life and ability to conform to difficult installation configurations.

Space Station Manual Override

Variable Bleed Value SyatemA space station has many elements that need to connect to make up the complete station. The node is one of these elements and it is responsible for controlling distributing resources between other connected elements of the station such as the crew return vehicle and habitation module. This node also houses redundant key environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) for oxygen generation, crew hygiene, waste management and water processing. If the electrical system from the space station fails, the S.S. White flexible shaft operated by hand crank, allows the astronauts to manually override the system.

AC130 Magazine Drive

The AC130 is considered to be one of the most formidable airborne weapons platforms used today by the US forces. With side firing capabilities, the AC130’s primary mission is to provide close air support and force protection. The AC130’s side firing weapons are integrated with high-level sensor, navigation and fire control systems. It is armed with two M61 20mm Vulcan cannons, one L60 40mm Bofors cannon, one M102 105mm howitzer and one 25mm GAU-12 Gatling Gun.

An S.S. White Flexible Shaft assembly, one of the largest flexible shafts used on an aircraft, is used as a drive shaft on the 25mm GAU-12 Gatling Gun, feeding the ammunition into the cannon to maintain its 1,800 round per minute firing rate.

JSTARS Radome Drive

JSTARS Radome DriveThe JSTARS, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System is an; airborne battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. The JSTARS operates to provide ground and air commanders with surveillance to support attack operations of enemy forces. The phased-array radar antenna is encased in a 26-foot canoe-shaped Radome under the forward part of the fuselage. The radar provides all targeting and battle management data to all Joint STARS operators. The S.S. White Flexible Shaft drives a precision encoder to accurately position the Radome for data acquisition.

V-22 Osprey Rescue Hoist

The V-22 Osprey is considered to be the most flexible, capable and revolutionary combat troop transport aircraft in the world. The V-22 can take off and land like a helicopter and convert to a turboprop aircraft while in flight.

Among the features of the V-22 Osprey is a state of the art Rescue Hoist system for lowering and raising troops from difficult situations. A highly engineered S.S. White Flexible Shaft drives the Power Sheave Assembly in the Hoist Boom.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the largest and most important research tools for astronomy ever created. The Hubble’s Soft Capture Mechanism (SCM) is a ring-like device attached to the bottom of the telescope that will give future robotic spacecraft an easy place to grab onto for servicing. The SCM was secured to the Hubble during the May 2009 Space Shuttle servicing mission. S.S. White Flexible Shafts were used to power, synchronize, and clamp the jaws of the SCM simultaneously to ensure a secure mount on the telescope. The assembly is a critical element in the future operation of a safe de-orbit of the Space Telescope.

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