Stavatti aerospace and defense products are developed and produced in adherence to a distinct program process consisting of Nine (9) phases including:
• Requirements and Specifications Generation
• Conceptual Design
• Advanced Design
• Integration and Detail Design
• Demonstration and Validation
• Qualification and Certification
• Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP)
• Full Rate Production (FRP)
• Line Termination and Reclamation
Stavatti The program process plan employed by Stavatti focuses upon the creation of a producible article for Direct Commercial Sale or in support of a Special Access contract initiative. Each stage of the program process forwards the design and development effort. Stavatti does not repeat program stages or reinvent the product mid-way through development. Programs incorporate all-new technology from the onset. The requirements and specifications to which a product is designed are not changed as the program evolves, or to accommodate failings in the product. Stavatti designs for production. All program participants, from engineering development to production assembly, are co-located from program onset whenever possible. This process methodology insures that innovation occurs at the beginning of a program, and continues throughout all development stages. Reviewing the nine stages of the program process we have:
Requirements and Specifications Generation: Prior to conceiving a product, the specifications and requirements for the product are clearly defined. Executive Leadership is responsible for this definition. In the beginning, the Executive Leadership determines a market need or niche. To satisfy the apparent need/niche, it is the duty of the Executive Leadership to develop requirements and specifications for an aircraft. All specifications are tailored to meet the unique demands of each requirement. Only essential aspects of performance and capability are specified with emphasis placed upon achieving critical parameters. Less critical program aspects may be specified as goals rather than absolute values. Specifications are kept simple and brief.
The specifications are then presented to principal anticipated customers for their assessment. Ultimately, Executive Leadership refines aircraft requirements based upon a merger of core customer and personal demands. Once revised and defined, the President/CEO/COO submits the requirements and specifications for a new aircraft program, in the form of a ten to one-hundred page document, to the board of directors for approval. Upon approval, the program moves to the Conceptual Design stage and the requirements and specifications remain unchanged throughout the life of the program. The requirements and specifications may not be altered to accommodate bad data or a poor design. All aircraft must be designed to meet or exceed their requirements and specifications as originally approved.
Conceptual Design: Stavatti conducts the Conceptual Design of an aircraft to meet all approved requirements and specifications. A number of conceptual iterations are performed with Executive Management, selecting a principle concept from all iterations upon which to concentrate. This concept will represent the preferred aircraft system. A general arrangement of the preferred aircraft concept is produced and preliminary aerodynamic, propulsive, weight and performance analysis is conducted. Statistical analysis may be employed for estimation of aircraft characteristics. The manufacturing process necessary to mass produce the aircraft is considered during the conceptual phase to ensure production feasibility.
Once the arrangement and configuration of a new aerospace vehicle is completed, the President/CEO/COO presents the aircraft design, complete with a three view drawing, specifications, baseline performance estimates and related supporting information in a package of no less than two, but no greater than twenty-five pages to the board of directors for their endorsement. Upon approval, a development program must be constructed and proposed for the new aircraft. Resulting in a package of no less than ten and no more than two hundred pages long, the background and significance of the program, the program’s market and marketing strategy, the program procedure and approach, program cost and expenditures and the estimated program results is detailed. The program package will then be presented to the board for their approval. Upon approval by majority vote, a new aircraft design program is initiated and the aircraft moves to Advanced Design.
Advanced Design: Advanced Design begins with the organization of an Integrated Product Engineering-Management Development (IPEMD) team, led by the Program Manager. IPEMDs are extensively applied in all subsequent operations. Serving as chief designer, an initial group of approximately five to twenty-five senior engineers work with the Program Manager to perform the general design and analysis of the aircraft. The purpose of the Advanced Design stage is to convert a conceptual aircraft into a functional design. The phase assures that the product is designed for ease of production, operation and maintainability. This commences with the selection of core aircraft subsystems including powerplant, avionics, control systems major sensor and countermeasures systems, armament, etc. Suitable leading-edge and off-the-shelf subsystems are identified, as well as wholly new subsystem types that require development for requirements that demand original solutions. Stavatti does not reinvent subsystems-just the airplane. Qualified and preferred subcontractors and participating prime contractors are invited to participate in the program team. Based upon selected subsystems and design requirements, the original conceptual design is tailored to accept real world constraints. Critical aspects of final aircraft configuration including airfoil sections, high lift devices, landing gear type, etc. are integrated into the design. Computational flight control and system architecture are considered. The design is drafted, lofted, analyzed and optimized using traditional techniques and new methods/approaches as developed internally and externally through civilian and federally supported agencies, organizations and associations.
Throughout this process the Program Manager draws upon the ability and talents of the engineers to introduce modifications and improvements to the design, ultimately affecting rapid design changes based upon personal know-how and conviction. Once approximately 75% of the design has been established using traditional design and artistic techniques, original hand-drawn prints are uplinked to a UNIX/LINUX network environment wherein Dassault-IBM systems CATIA is employed as the subsequent engineering design instrument. At this point, additional engineers join the design effort, resulting in twenty five to forty percent of the total program projected engineering force.
A preliminary three-dimensional model of the aircraft is constructed with models of major subsystems, including powerplants, incorporated from vendor supplied models or specifications. This model will form the basis of all subsequent design work and will include a preliminary internal arrangement including all aircraft design features.
Upon completion, the preliminary model will be subjected to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and structural finite element analysis (FEA) over the specified flight regime. The results of this analysis are compared to original theoretical data to ensure accuracy. Once initial CFD and FEA simulations are performed, a final advanced design model of the aircraft is completed containing all recommended modifications as derived from CFD and FEA. A series of design files and prints, including external aircraft layout and lofted sections are completed. The advanced design of the aircraft is considered frozen and Stavatti orders the design and fabrication of a High and Low Speed Aerodynamic Force and Moment model by a specialized vendor. The Advanced Design phase concludes with the internal construction of a 1/12 scale engineering reference and display model and the graduation of the aircraft to Integration and Detail Design. Additionally, all new military programs are to achieve State Department-Office of Defense Trade Controls Marketing approval to their core focus customers prior to entering the Integration and Detail Design stage to ensure deliverability.
Integration and Detail Design: The intricate design of aircraft components is the principle result of the Integration and Detail Design
phase. The engineering staff is expanded to include more scientists and engineers as well as soft-ware programmers dedicated to source-code definition. During the first months of this phase, each component of the aircraft, from spars and ribs, to avionics racks and aileron hinges, is engineered in detail to fulfill design and Mil-Spec requirements while the wind tunnel model vendor completes their statement of work. All major aircraft systems are integrated into the aircraft and final subsystems and their providers are selected. Negotiations with sub and prime contractors who will supply production aircraft components are formalized and statements of work ordering prototype components, non-recurring engineering and critical production equipment with lead times of fifteen to twenty months are submitted. CFD and FEA simulations of the aircraft, and total vehicle flight performance and warfighter integration simulations of the aircraft are conducted on local UNIX/LINUX and (Cray) Supercomputer networks.
Upon completion of the wind tunnel model, an initial wind tunnel test program is initiated whereby approximately one fourth of the total estimated number of program wind tunnel test hours is conducted at qualified, independent domestic wind tunnel test facilities. No more than 1/4th of total wind tunnel testing may occur in this phase. The design and fabrication of additional wind tunnel models to explore particular aircraft aspects, including forebody/inlet, afterbody and wing semispan reflection models is ordered as necessary. To assist in completing of aircraft detail design CATIA walk-through modeling is augmented with the construction of a full-scale mockup, incorporating accurately modeled cockpit and maintenance access articles to assist human factors engineering. The mockup will be used in trade shows. Additional models, including RCS validation models, are also constructed.
Upon successful completion of one half of initial wind tunnel testing construction of a full-motion cockpit/aircraft simulator will be contracted to a qualified vendor. Furthermore, Stavatti will submit a statement of work to arrange the in-flight simulation of all new aircraft involving advanced flight control systems using the NF-16D VISTA or similar platforms. Upon the successful completion of the initial wind tunnel test program11 and the conclusion of aircraft detail design, CATIA files of the aircraft detailing its conformal production configuration are prepared. Blueprints and CATIA files of the design are then released to the board to conduct a Critical Design Review. The Critical Design Review will permit the board to inspect the design and endorse the construction of a conformal prototype. Upon granting approval, the aircraft moves to Demonstration and Validation.
Demonstration and Validation: The Demonstration and Validation (Dem/Val) phase serves to
produce conformal service prototypes. The engineering staff is increased to approximately ninety to one hundred percent of total anticipated salaried personnel, forty percent of total anticipated flight test personnel and approximately one hundred percent of total anticipated software programmers. The production line for prototyping is configured. During the first months of Dem/Val, a complete exploration of the aircraft flight regime is conducted via wind tunnel testing of the aerodynamic force and moment model. Additional wind tunnel models to explore particular aircraft aspects, including forebody/inlet, afterbody and wing semispan reflection models are tested. Total wind tunnel testing of combined secondary models, including inlet/forebody, afterbody and wing semispan reflection is not to exceed 15,000 hours. In total, no aircraft design program may incorporate more than 25,000 hours of wind tunnel testing. If possible, combinations of traditional empirical and advanced CFD analysis should reduce wind tunnel test requirements to no more than 5,000 total hours per program.
Stavatti is interested only in acquiring Good Data. 5,000 hours of Good Data is far more useful than 40,000 hours of BAD DATA. As wind tunnel testing is conducted and initial flight control laws are defined, NF-16D VISTA simulation of the aircraft will be conducted, with a total of 25 to 100 hours flown in the VISTA to validate aircraft control laws and performance characteristics throughout the duration of Dem/Val. Testing of RCS Validation models will be conducted to ensure conformity to specification. Early into Dem/Val, construction of the first Prototype Air Vehicle (PAV-1) is initiated.
In the case of an aircraft destined for production, Stavatti creates a conformal prototype air vehicle. Stavatti creates demonstrators and experimental aircraft solely for demonstration and experimental purposes wherein the aircraft fabricated is not representational of any projected production article or derivative. Every prototype represents the initial articles of a production series. In creating a prototype, difficulties and failings associated with a design are realized and corrected without jeopardizing production. The prototype is fabricated employing those techniques to be employed during production, therein allowing prototypes to serve as conformal articles. To reduce cost in prototype work, however, molds and tooling for composite components may be fabricated from the resin from which composite employs, thereby postponing the fabrication of expensive Invar production molds until the aircraft enters production.
Engineers work beside aerospace machinists and assembly workers during prototype fabrication to ensure that the engineering department recognizes, understands and immediately remedies any potential failings of their design; failings that can be corrected so they are never recognized on the production floor. Shortly upon initiation of Dem/Val, all critical prototype component systems including engines and avionics will arrive on the production floor for incorporation into the prototype. Prior to PAV-1 roll-out, the full-motion aircraft cockpit simulator will arrive, permitting test pilots to begin flight simulation in a near authentic, representational environment. Upon completion of prototype assembly, all necessary flight and systems software will be integrated into the design. A flight test plan will be completed and submitted to the board for their approval. Following prototype roll-out, the aircraft will begin initial flight testing.
Flight testing will occur at a Stavatti facility in the case of a general aviation aircraft, or may occur at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), Edwards AFB in the case of a military aircraft. In the event the prototype will not begin flight testing at the facility of its fabrication, the prototype will be transported via C-5 or alternate suitable airlift (Civilian contracted An-124) vehicle to the test facility. Initial flight testing of the prototype air vehicle will require nine to twelve months and result in no fewer than 360 flight hours. Within three months of first prototype flight testing, construction of the second Prototype Air Vehicle (PAV-2) will begin. The second prototype air vehicle will result in a production representative flight vehicle. Roll-out of the second conformal prototype will result in the successful completion of the Dem/Val program.
Qualification and Certification: The Dem/Val phase proves that an aircraft built in accordance to the production blueprints will fly. Prior to entering production, however, both prototypes complete Qualification and Certification. All Stavatti aircraft must be certified to a relevant FAA Type certification prior to entering production or sale, regardless of military or civilian end use. The FAA type certification process, for FAR Parts 23 and 25 for example to which a majority of Stavatti aircraft are certified, begins in the advanced design phase through the submission of all relevant paperwork to the FAA. Within the Qualification and Certification phase, conformal prototype aircraft are subjected to a flight test program as approved by the FAA to gain type certification. Additional engineers and flight test personnel are added to the program. During this phase, additional prototype air vehicles may be constructed to increase flight testing. The duration and scope of Certification and Qualification is based upon the aircraft itself and the end-goal of certification.
Civil aircraft will be tested entirely at Stavatti facilities. Military aircraft will be tested primarily at the AFFTC, Edwards AFB and utilize military proving grounds (PAX River, China Lake, etc.). As a majority of military facilities are offering their services commercially, Stavatti can employ a wide variety of otherwise unemployed services. The Qualification and Certification programs span approximately fifteen to thirty six months in length. Fighter aircraft flight testing, for example, will typically result in approximately 12 flights per month per PAV at an average flight length of 1.25 hours per flight. During the flight test program, Stavatti will provide company test pilots and associated flight test engineers and maintenance personnel to conduct the program. All flight testing will result in demonstration of conformity to design specifications and requirements along with a complete envelope exploration. In the case of military aircraft, complete envelope exploration includes supersonic, supercruise, inflight thrust vectoring, high-alpha, post-stall maneuvering and variable stability demonstrations.
All prototypes will undergo full spin-testing and demonstrate their ability to perform standard combat maneuvers as well as ‘snap-rolls,’ ‘hammerhead stalls,’ ‘Cobra maneuvers,’ and a compliment of competition grade aerobatic maneuvers. Military fighter prototypes will also undergo the live firing of unarmed munitions at the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake as commercially contracted. Stavatti will also conduct an evaluation of the prototype fighter RCS at the Benefield Anechoic Facility, Edwards AFB and ejection seat/forward cockpit flight test-emergency egress evaluation at the USAF Multi-Axis Seat Ejection Rocket Sled Facility at Holloman AFB, Alamogordo, NM.
Total conformal and qualification flight testing will result in a minimum of one thousand hours of flight operations over two aircraft for two years. Aircraft must not exceed five thousand hours of flight testing prior to entering production, with one thousand hours of testing, including that performed by the first prototype in Dem/Val, being suitable for fighter qualification and civil type certification. In addition to the flight test program static and dynamic ground testing at Stavatti facilities will be performed throughout the Qualification and Certification phase. Including the construction of two static-load test articles and Vehicle Systems Simulators or ‘iron birds’. The load and failure simulation of the ground-test articles includes full static testing to 1.5 times the maximum load limits over multiple equivalent lifetimes. Stavatti will ‘break’ one of the iron birds to insure aircraft conformity. Along with aircraft load testing, subscale and full scale article testing will be conducted on airframe components including coupon tests of airframe materials, including durability and damage tolerance tests, including static tests on alloy materials. Static testing of specific materials testing will occur at non-Stavatti facilities including NASA Langley and Science and Technology Corporation. Stavatti will conduct in-house integrated avionics and flight control law testing concurrently with flight testing.
All final production tooling and equipment is selected and all final molds for composite material, including production grade Invar molds are fabricated. The production line and assembly methodology associated with all aircraft to be produced will be certified to relevant FAA standards during the flight test program. Conclusion of the Qualification and Certification will result in the Qualification of military aircraft and the award of FAA Type and Production certification.
Low Rate Initial Production: During Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft transitions from pre-production prototype to full-production status. LRIP permits the gradual introduction of additional personnel and tooling to meet anticipated production needs. LRIP typically results in one sixth to one half total estimated annual production. During LRIP the aircraft is marketed worldwide with emphasis being placed upon establishing a global support network for the new aircraft type. LRIP marks the completion of the corporate sponsored flight test development program, upon which further testing, evaluation and development of the aircraft becomes a customer, rather than contractor, funded activity. Per military customer needs, LRIP may result in the fabrication of between five and fifteen Production Representative Test Vehicles (PRTV). These aircraft will likely be owned by Stavatti via debt financing serviced by backlog, or will be customer owned and operated. Allowing full customer participation in the PRTV test program, pre-production aircraft will undergo a flight test program concurrent to service entry at either the AFFTC or Stavatti/Customer test facilities. Throughout LRIP, Stavatti will employ two or more original prototypes as company demonstrator aircraft to enhance system sales and marketing. Full production of a new aircraft is initiated at the discretion of at such time that the production line is deemed capable of handling the estimated full rate of production or upon completion of the PRTV test program.
Full Rate Production: Full Rate Production (FRP) results in revenue generation. At full production, general aviation and non-special access military aircraft alike are produced in Stavatti owned and operated facilities at a rate determined by the corporation based upon real-time and anticipated customer demand. Stavatti produces aircraft at a relatively constant rate, creating inventory or full-filling a backlog based upon current orders. This constant rate production prevents Stavatti from experiencing surges in production personnel numbers based upon actual demand and assists in maintaining consistent pricing. If an excessive backlog (twelve months) for a product becomes apparent, however, production will be stepped up as ultimately, a backlog loses business. All aircraft are produced in production blocks wherein each aircraft within a specific block, such as Block 10, maintain the same configuration. Blocks are defined based upon a specialized configuration as submitted by the customer or standard production configuration as offered by Stavatti.
All aircraft are marketing through Direct Commercial Sales from Stavatti to the customer, dependant upon aircraft and block configuration. A standard five day, three shift, one hundred and twenty hour work week is employed for military aircraft production with a five day, one shift, forty hour work week typically employed for general aviation. All production employs methods originally used in prototype construction that require the skilled labor of a qualified aerospace workforce. In terms of customer satisfaction, Stavatti offers services including aircraft orientation, flight/pilot type rating training, maintenance instruction, on-site product delivery/aircraft ferry and a 1,000+ hour Nose-to-Nozzle manufacturers limited warranty. Stavatti provides global support, including 24 hour-lifetime product and technical assistance, full service maintenance, access to parts/spares and aircraft customization and modification. Including representation in over twenty nations worldwide, general aviation and military customers alike will have access to maintenance and support services. For military customers, Stavatti offers not only armament and support packages, but tactical, strategic and maintenance training coupled with active advisory services.
To assist DoD and NATO allies in the wartime environment, Stavatti offers surge production capability. One of the extraordinary benefits of Stavatti is the production of both military and general aviation sportplanes using similar production methodology simultaneously during peacetime. Due to the greater number of civil aircraft produced compared to military in peacetime conditions, Stavatti always maintains a large production area and skilled workforce which in the event of armed conflict, may be shifted directly to military aircraft production with little retooling or retraining. The result is a tripling of production capability to ensure victory in world war. Upon completion of war service production, assembly persons can return directly to civil aircraft production thus avoiding the massive layoffs once associated with the end of wartime manufacturing. Employing commercial production and customer support practices, Stavatti provides high demand aircraft effectively. Stavatti typically sustains aircraft production over a fifteen to twenty year production life. Aircraft may, however, be produced continuously for as much as thirty or more years. Ultimately, the production life of an aircraft is based solely upon customer demand, with Stavatti ceasing production of any military or civil type once production has dropped below its break-even value.
Line Termination and Reclamation: Line Termination and Reclamation occurs when an aircraft is ceases production and military service respectively. Termination of a Stavatti product line often results in the replacement of the terminated product by a superior successor. Line termination results in a minimum of layoffs and in most cases is not a permanent end to an aircraft. Stavatti maintains a strategic vision for all products. Regardless of any annual bottom line, all tooling and product specific production articles necessary to produce an aircraft is stored for every terminated aircraft for the life of Stavatti. At any time that a customer is willing to order a complete aircraft, Stavatti can, assuming it is profitable to do so, produce single or multiple editions of a once terminated aircraft. Furthermore, the majority of aircraft tooling for a terminated line remains in use indefinitely, producing spare parts for those military and civil customers that may keep ‘em flying for fifty years or more.
In terms of reclamation, upon the purchase of any military aircraft by a government user agency, Stavatti establishes an agreement to reclaim the aircraft, in part or whole, at no cost to the user upon retirement. These reclaimed aircraft are then mothballed in functional condition in a Stavatti facility for future museum or corporate purposes. This practice of reclamation allows governments to properly dispose of aircraft that may contain carcinogenic components in an ecologically friendly manner while avoiding arms control violations. Note that throughout a program, Stavatti will consult with customers to identify specifications and requirements, but does not permit customer oversight once the program enters the conceptual design phase. As a commercial entity, Stavatti treats all customers equally. Stavatti does not permit a resident customer program office, such as AFPRO or NAVPRO to provide oversight of a Stavatti program. Stavatti differs substantially from other prime contractors in the fact that Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) teams are not permitted to reside in Stavatti facilities. The DLA and DCAA are permitted to provide only extremely limited contract and financial management functions. Stavatti maintains a liaison with these offices, yet Stavatti does not partake in development contracts. Stavatti believes in open communication with customers, however, all customers must procure Stavatti aircraft on a commercial, off-the-shelf basis, permitting the corporation to properly manage programs without needless oversight. In the event a Stavatti product is not considered a value to a customer, the customer may purchase from an alternate competitor.
Employing this program process plan, Stavatti can develop an entirely new aircraft within five to ten years, at no cost to the customer. To guarantee that the full energy of Stavatti is assigned to a program, Stavatti conducts no more than two core programs simultaneously per sector enterprise. At any given time, Stavatti will be conducting one military program, one general aviation program and one special access program. This is accomplished through Stavatti’s use of a five to ten year design cycle. Every five years, Stavatti undertakes the design, development and production of an entire new line of aircraft to replace, augment, supplement or meet previously unserviced market needs of the previous Stavatti or industry line. Hence Stavatti could theoretically introduce a new generation of aircraft every five years. Furthermore, each division of Stavatti may produce no more than five principle products at any one time, including long standing products with fifteen to thirty year production runs. The result is aircraft produced using commercial practices for ten to thirty year production lives that are independent of government user agency or political demands that often dissuade business achievement. Using Stavatti’s method, a military aircraft will enter full production in under two U.S. domestic administrations and actually turn a profit. Furthermore, dependant upon aircraft type or wartime needs, Stavatti can drastically reduce development time by eliminating program aspects including in-flight simulation, developing new aircraft within two to three years. Adhering to a constant process, Stavatti can establish a proven team committed to excellence with repeated success, program after program.