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Machining Titanium for Today’s Advanced Aircraft

Several Global Titanium Day attendees were chosen to take flight in a reproduction of the Wright Brothers Model B Military Flyer.

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Several Global Titanium Day attendees were chosen to take flight in a reproduction of the Wright Brothers Model B Military Flyer.

Today’s advanced military and commercial aircraft are constructed with a higher percentage of titanium components then previous designs. Titanium is light, strong, corrosion-resistant and compatible with composite materials. It is also difficult to machine.

Makino recently sponsored a Global Titanium Day at its Mason, Ohio facility to mark the opening of its new Global Titanium R&D Center and to introduce the company’s latest titanium machining technology. This technology is designed to make machining titanium more productive and profitable. Read a report on this technology here.

After a day of technical presentations and machining demonstrations, attendees were invited to join company officials for an excursion to the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Miamisburg, Ohio, just south of Dayton, where dinner and refreshments were served in one of the airport hangars. A highlight of the evening was an appearance by a reproduction of the Wright Brothers Model B Military Flyer, which is owned and operated by a local nonprofit, volunteer-led organization. A number of attendees were chosen by a random raffle to take short flights as passengers on the Model B Flyer. As one winner told me, “We didn’t go very high or fly very fast, but in a small open plane, it sure felt like we did.”

The unspoken connection to titanium machining was apparently the simple fact that aviation has made tremendous strides in a little over a century and that rapid changes in the design and manufacture of aircraft continue to this day.