The idea of large, composite-filled passenger airliners streaking across the sky was unthinkable many years ago. The technology had its place on specialized military and business aircraft, but the idea of replacing large swaths of airframe metal on key control surfaces was an aircraft engineer’s pipedream. Not so today. Composites have evolved from a supporting to major role. Consider the history of composites on Airbus and Boeing airliners. Just 1% of the very first Boeing 747 ...

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