Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Enterprising Pilot Turns 787 Scraps into Works of Art

Photo Courtesy of Michael Kurchina
Ever wonder what happens to the scrap carbon fiber cutouts that results from the production of 787 fuselage sections?  Spirit Aerosystems cuts out 18 window panels from each 787 section 41 it produces for Boeing.  That is 180 carbon fiber "windows" that are discarded each month.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Kurchina

Photo Courtesy of Michael Kurchina
This is where Rouge pilot (the LCC division of Air Canada) Michael Kurchina steps in.  After arranging a visit to Spirits' 787 production facilities in Wichita, KS, Michael was granted permission to take a couple of the carbon fiber window cutouts during his visit.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Kurchina
Michael was also given permission to take the flight deck window cut outs of Air Canada's first 787-8.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Kurchina

This is where Michael turned a hobby into a 2nd career.  He got permission from Boeing, Spirit and Air Canada to receive the carbon fiber window cut outs from the 787s that are destined only for Air Canada on a regular basis which are turned into personalized and polished display plaques.  He produced a few for the Future of Flight as well as for pilots and executives at Air Canada including CEO Calin Rovinescu.


Michael receives regular shipments of the window cutouts from Spirit from the section 41 of Air Canada's Dreamliners via Fed Ex.  The section 41 has 18 window cutouts (9 on each side) thus he has the potential of receiving almost 1000 cutouts coming from Air Canada's 787 order (including if the carrier exercises its options).

When he receives them with a large cut out grove in the middle (from the diamond or carbide cutting tool) which he fills, coast with polyurethane and sands down.  Michael actually codes each panel with the line number, registration, fin number, serial number, variable number and the position on the actual aircraft that the cut out came from.
Photo courtesy of Michael Kurchina

Michael then produces the graphics which includes the aforementioned details on the graphics which is done on Fuji Metallic by Fotobox which is cut out and then laminated.  Michael cuts them out by hand.
Photo courtesy of Michael Kurchina

The cutouts are then mounted in a specially constructed jig.  Michael enlisted the help of Adam Mills who then sprays the window panels with automotive clear coat for protection. After it's dried the clear coat is sanded with three different grits of sandpaper (1000 dry, 1500 wet, and 3000 wet), two levels of polish and finally a rubber edge is then put on around the perimeter of the window cut out.

Michael can be reached at aviatorwindows@gmail.com with regards to interest in his window plaques.  As far as getting the cut outs from 787s other than those going to Air Canada, Michael says he would need permission from Boeing, Spirit (section 41 supplier) and the 787 customer. For now he's not planning for that but it may change if he adds staff and he sees a demand for these unique window plaques.

Here are some videos of how these window plaques are made:










2 comments:

Vab Andleigh said...

Looks like the Vietnamese 787 at DCA drew dignitaries from both Vietnam and the U.S.

And they announced a MoU for 8 additional 787-10 and 8 of 777-8's

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2015/07/07/vietnam-airlines-shows-off-first-787-at-dcs-national-airport/29805387/

Hiromichi Notake said...

2 ANA aircrafts will be registrated as follows:

ZB690(L/N472) will be JA883A.
ZB691(L/N479) will be JA884A.