22 Aircraft Construction From A To Z

Aircraft Construction From A To Z

Posted on November 15, 2011 by


We've got used to think that Russian production factories are, as a rule, half-destroyed buildings with leaking roofs and crooked staircases ending at the ceiling. However, the aircraft construction factory where they produce Sukhoi Superjets 100 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, is a sufficient refutation of the charge. About 12 thousand people work at the two departments of the factory. In the first one they make the fuselage, and in the other one they install electronics, engines, etc. Let's see how they turn a piece of aluminium into a plane.

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Actually, no photographing is permitted.

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Moscow sends electronic models of planes to the factory, which later has to produce them. By the way, the Sukhoi Superjet was the first to have been produced in this way. The 'electronic' production saves its designers and constructers about 2 years of time.

Here they turn aluminium into aircraft parts.

These are computerized control machines. There are 30 of them at the factory.

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Chips go for recycling.

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No one but a machine operator, participates in it. He watches the process on the screen, which is also the control panel.

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These machines can cut large parts of a very complicated shape.

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This part has been cut out by the machine.

The aircraft's fuselage has over 40 thousand rivets and the wing has over 15 thousand ones. With the help of this riveting laser, they drill holes and install rivets.

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They also cut out small components with it.

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There are almost no straight parts in the plane, so to bend them, they use these forms.

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Presses shape the part in the right way.

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The wing skin gets shaped manually at a separate press.

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They control the 14-meter wing skin production with this mould set. The deflection must not be more than 1 millimeter.

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If the deflection exceeds the limit, they apply another special machine.

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When the wing skin has aquired the right shape, they prime it to prevent corrosion.

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For each fuselage panel, there is a special 'pallet'.

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Automated riveting machines. Each plane has about 55 thousand rivets.

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The process is controled by a couple of machine operators.

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Fastening marking is made by hand.

The machine cannot replace the human completely, so workers sometimes have to mark spots for riveting by themselves.

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After the link-up, they begin to assemble the fuselage.

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They're assembling the 20th aircraft.

In order to exclude plays, they have to machine bolt-holes in a special way.

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The closer the butt is, the longer the lifetime of the component will be.

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A wing spar assembly panel.

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Wearing earphones are a necesary job safety measure at manual fastening.

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This frame separates the passenger compartment and the tail section of the aircraft.

The center wing with a fuel tank inside. They attach wings to it.

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In this department they assemble wings.

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Here they install wing spars and wing ribs.

'95021 left' means that this is a loose piece of the wing which belongs to the aircraft #21. On the whole, Sukhoi has produced 11 aircrafts.

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These manholes in the lower part of the wing are made for service crew members to get inside.

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One of the movable manhole covers.

Inner space of the wing, just as the central wing, is used as a fuel tank.

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In this department they assemble and join fuselage compartments.

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Joint fuselage panels.

Information about Department #89.

In each department you can find detailed information about what they do there.

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This is going to be a floor.

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It is installed into the fuselage.

After that they cover it with a special aircraft floor.

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The luggage compartment is situated right under it.

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Fuselage sections are joined automatically.

No Russian factory has such a machine yet, including military factories.

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In this department they infuse life into the plane: install engines and electronics, attach wings...

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The first thing which strikes the eyes of the visitor of the department is its perfect cleanness.

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Light boxes inform on the work which is being done on each of the six aircrafts at the moment.

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They clean up the department four times a day.

They control the assembly process from these enclosed offices, like they do at Boeing.

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They assemble six aircrafts at the same time and there is one ready waiting for its customer to take it away.

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There are six work stations where each of the six planes spends 30 days, before moving to the next station.

The first work station or Platform #1. Here they install piping and electrical wires, doors, etc.

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Upper antennae.

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First wires are being laid.

Installation of the cover of an auxiliary power plant.

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The central wing.

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At Platform #2 they attach wings, install the undercarriage, the nose dome, etc.

The SSJ100 is the first plane joined automatically.

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After the wings have been attached, they install the undercarriage.

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Each undercarriage stands up to 70 thousand takeoffs and landings.

The Superjet has about 83 kilometers of wires.

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The soft cover protects the twisted strip from dust and shows the order of joining.

Heat insulating and soundproof mats.

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A warning sign.

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At Platform #3 they install wing flaps, slats, etc.

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At the fourth station they install the hydraulic and airlock systems.

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At stage #5 they test all the systems alive.

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They're installing the cable system.

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At Platform #6 they install seats, engines, the flight compartment, and carry out a checkup to pass the plane for a test-flight.

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The cover the seats to keep them clean.

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Russian-French engines SaM146.

The engines are optimized for 75 persons but air companies tend to order 95-seat cabins, which makes Sukhoi work on the way to increase the power of the engine by 5%.

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After the test-flight, the plane flies to Ulyanovsk where they paint it and then bring it back to Komsomolsk-on- Amur to fix the defects.

A new SSJ100 is ready for Aeroflot.

Today it takes the company 180 days to make an aircraft, which is rather long, so they want to upgrade the production process to shorten this time to 54 days.

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The luggage compartment.

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The economy class.

The distance between the two rows in the economy class is 79 centimetres; in the business class it is 97 centimetres.

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The business class.

The kitchen.

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The bathroom.

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The Superjet can be rightly considered to be the rebirth point of Russian aircraft construction.--nextpage--

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Location: Komsomolsk-on-Amur

via sergeydolya
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22 Responses to “Aircraft Construction From A To Z”

  1. moo says:

    Hehehe now I know which seats to get in a SSJ100. Get the first seats behind the business class becasue you will have a bunch more space. Even if they putt a divider there still more room then regular seats.

  2. petrohof says:

    i imagine that construction of the factory was as complicated as that of the planes

  3. Mr Cool says:

    I opened this entry only to see more pictures of those cute girls assembling the plane. Thank you, I love Russian girls.

  4. perristalsis says:

    Just do a special on the chicks that work at the factory, they’re gorgeous!

  5. Zonda says:

    At the first sight of this post, pic#1 – “blondies wiring devices”, it explain part of the Russian aviation incidents…:)

  6. yojimbo says:

    It is always pretty amazing to see how complex an aircraft actually is so much goes into making one and and keeping one flying.

    In one of my old Air Force squadrons we had around 20 C-130 and 9 C-9s for just that small number of aircraft the squadron had 2,000 people in it all but the handful of staff workers performing some job in aircraft maintenance and those aircraft are just simple cargo planes you can obviously guess that more complex types of aircraft need even more people.

  7. j pigden says:

    This reminds me of a story I got from a BUFF driver (B52 pilot). The BUFF is an oddball in the USAF inventory. It’s been around for so long and changed so many times that working on it has become a nightmare. There is so much wire, installed by so many different people (most no longer in uniform), at so many different places (some stations no longer in use), documentation misplaced that the current maintenance crews won’t cut any wire! They aren’t sure where it came from, not sure where it goes, nor what exactly it does, but they ain’t going to touch it!!!

    • Hirsh says:

      Not cutting wires on a plane that is older then those who work on it and crew it is “a good thing” as Martha Stewart would say. :)

    • yojimbo says:

      Actually the B-52 is not the only long career aircraft the KC-135 also been in service since 1957 just a few years shorter than the B-52.Most C-130Js the latest model are really re-built C-130Hs which began life in the early 70s.

      Basically they just completely upgrade the guts and either remove or ignore no longer used wiring which in general the required amount goes down as technology improves.I work for a company that makes aircraft wire for Boeing,AirBus,Lockeed Martin to name a few we start by winding the copper coils into larger wire and then it gets sealed but each machine makes the wire in 10,000ft lengths so if you make a mistake and fail to notice until the end opps.Not too big a deal if you do this once in while though seeing as they simply recycle the copper right in the same facility anyway.

  8. Mad Max2 says:

    “Just like Boeing…”
    The plane and the facility look great, but like Boeing? No.
    Maybe more like McDonnell Douglas 30 years ago.

      • Hirsh says:

        Not sure what he meant, but Boeing was already doing fullout cad aircraft design in the early ’90s which resulted in the 777. Story says the SSJ100 is Sukoi’s first foray into full out cad design. I suspect they built more proto parts then boeing did too, just to make sure everything worked. As for MD, they first started using in house designed CAD software in the mid ’60s and by the mid 1970s they were already buying Unigraphics Corporation.

        “Boeing debuts the twin-engine 777, the biggest two-engine jet ever to fly and the first aircraft produced through computer-aided design and engineering. Only a nose mockup was actually built before the vehicle was assembled—and the assembly was only 0.03 mm out of alignment when a wing was
        attached.”

  9. Hirsh says:

    Looking down the empty fuselage shell really drives home how minimilistic, and elegant, the structure is that you’re betting you’re life on.

  10. CCCP says:

    I like to see foreign machines at Russian production lines… This show that Russian science is strong…

    • Hola! says:

      This is none-sense. In the era of globalization you will find that to find indigenously produced assembly-line machines is impossible anywhere, not specifying Russia in particular.

      • Hirsh says:

        Exactly. Sukhoi is pulling talent from many parts of the world to build the SSJ100. Flight deck partner is Thales, Parker for hydraulics etc., design software is Dassault Systems/IBM Catia V5, much of the manufacturing equipment is internationally sourced, etc. Design phase was also a collaboration between the strong design team of Sukhoi and their international partners.

        But it is nice to see Sukhoi is a strong player in the Airline manufacturing market. Not a lot of room for too many players these days. I sure wouldn’t want to fly on a Chinese designed airliner anytime soon! The SSJ100, no problem. Just maybe not the first ones, lol. Perhaps one a brunette wired.

  11. Matlok says:

    Pretty impressive! And like every other “swinging Richard” that checked this post out, I think the girls are hot! Show us more please!

  12. Comrade says:

    Hope, the plane fly well! And those girls are absolutely beautiful! Hope they are good workers. :)

  13. Jimbo says:

    It’s good to see the inter. Products that me and my friends B/E Aerospace produce in the USA. Nice Planes, good to see some work for Russia.. Hope to be there to visit..

  14. Jude Mungwe Nsatuh says:

    seeking for job

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