Vice President, Research & Development and Growth Programs of Spirit AeroSystems
“Driving the Company with R&D”
According to Cindy Hoover, Vice President, Research & Development and Growth Programs of Spirit AeroSystems, having female role models in executive leadership positions can be difficult to find, especially those who have the time and willingness to serve mentors or sponsors. “I find this to be a critical leadership skill, and one that I am very passionate about,” she says. “For those women who are ready to venture out to open their own business or for those who are being entrepreneurs within the companies they work for, I offer these five tips including the willingness to take risks, continuous learning, surrounding oneself with positive people, networking, and finding a sponsor.”
Armed with these qualities herself, Cindy is taking the company to new heights and says research and development not only fuels growth but helps diversify Spirit’s business. Cindy does this through driving a collaborative road-mapping, and portfolio process focused on seven distinctive capabilities, major areas of technological advancement and innovation, that Spirit believes will define the aircraft of tomorrow. These innovative capabilities also help customers understand the value Spirit brings to the market, enabling success in the commercial and defense sectors. Cindy brings her unique experience in engineering, operations, six sigma, program management, and research and development to work with customers on opportunities to partner for solutions.
Spirit AeroSystems is a young company built on more than 90 years of aviation experience. Many of the world’s greatest aviation companies — Stearman, Boeing, Rockwell, North American, and British Aerospace Corporation — have contributed to the Spirit legacy. Spirit research and development helps drive the company’s design-for-manufacturability focus, supporting rapid prototyping and commercial best practices for new and modified defense programs. Spirit’s research and development team can pair new materials technology with manufacturing solutions from lighter, more agile aircraft to emerging hypersonic systems. With integrated metallic structures through two generations of composites and a landscape that includes thermoplastics and CMCs, Spirit uses its broad research and technology functions to make materials fit for manufacturing.
Spirit AeroSystems continually applies its Distinctive Capabilities to reduce carbon emissions throughout the entire life cycle of aircraft development, manufacturing, operations, and retirement. A comprehensive study by the universities of Sheffield, Cambridge, and University College London published within the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment found that, compared to a metallic aircraft, composites reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent over the life of an aircraft. As the world’s largest supplier of composite aerostructures, producing over 2.5 million pounds of composite structures each year, Spirit is continuously striving to improve the benefit of composites to carbon emissions even more.
One example is Spirit’s Intelligent Resin Infusion System (IRIS™) technology, recently used to produce a composite lower wing cover demonstrator. Targeted for a future composite wing, the innovations within the IRIS™ Lower Wing Cover Demonstrator combine for a wide array of energy savings and emission reductions both during manufacturing and over the life of the aircraft. Studies show composite wings are approximately 34-40% lighter than the equivalent metallic wings – this enables a 5-8% fuel burn savings through weight reduction alone. The IRIS™ demo also applied a series of innovations applying Spirit’s patented self-heated tooling and resin infusion technology to produce the world’s first composite Lower Wing Cover demonstrator with no autoclave or oven. During manufacturing, the self-heated tooling within the IRIS™ technology enables up to 50% energy saving than traditional autoclave curing of the composite material. Additionally, self-heated tooling technology eliminates the need for the many tons of Nitrogen per year required to operate autoclaves during composite manufacturing.
As one of the world’s largest tier-one manufacturers and suppliers of aerostructures, Spirit AeroSystems focuses on delivering major portions of the most in-demand aircraft to OEMs and applying engineering innovations to offer new solutions to the warfighter. Many know the company as a commercial production powerhouse, but it is also an emerging center for integrated systems work, a hub for impressive research and development activity, and a trusted global source for maintenance and repairs. IEWL
Research & Development and Growth Programs of
Spirit AeroSystems defines and energizes modern aerospace manufacturing by delivering uncompromising quality, breakthrough innovations and high-skilled production expertise to commercial, defense and business aerospace programs. Spirit AeroSystems is the world’s largest tier-one manufacturer and supplier of aerostructures, a $7 billion global company with more than 14,800 employees worldwide. The company’s headquarters are located in Wichita, Kan. Other locations include Tulsa and McAlester, Okla.; Kinston, N.C.; Biddeford, ME; San Antonio, TX; Prestwick, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Subang, Malaysia; Casablanca, Morocco and Saint-Nazaire, France.