Original Date: 02/03/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Aerospace Standards
Because of its name, many people do not realize that the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) operates the world's largest non-government aerospace standards program. This user-managed, user-oriented program is international in scope and focuses on procurement. SAE published its first aeronautic standard (interchangeable spark plugs) in 1917. Early aviation pioneers such as Elmer Sperry, Orville Wright, Glenn Curtis, and Glenn Martin helped to merge the American Society of Aeronautical Engineers into SAE and establish the Society's leadership role in aerospace. Today, SAE has published more than 4,500 aerospace standards and specifications which are used worldwide for the design and production of aircraft components and systems. Drafted by industry experts, these SAE standards and specifications are used on a voluntary basis by industry and government.
Under the Technical Standards Board, the Aerospace Council governs SAE's aerospace operations. The council members represent executives from commercial, regional, general aviation, military, space, and government agencies. Their responsibility is to ensure the aerospace standards program is well managed, progresses in a timely and cost-effective manner, meets user needs, and avoids duplication of effort. Figure 2-1 shows the organizational relationship of the Aerospace Council. In 1994, SAE’s Board of Directors established the Aerospace Program Office (APO) with executives from the aerospace industry. APO identified various technical issues for focus within SAE: anti-icing and de-icing; paint and paint removal; reliability analysis; cabin automation; safety; fasteners; man- machine interface; and training.
In 1999, SAE produced 473 new and revised aerospace standards and continued to lead the industry in electronic development and dissemination of standards. In addition, SAE published commercial versions of MIL-STD-1553 and MIL-STD-1773 data bus standards and established a project to develop an industry and government prioritized list of standards and specifications for potential conversion to SAE documents. Aerospace standards are accredited by the American National Standards Institute. SAE submits its aerospace standards for adoption as American National Standards. SAE maintains an active liaison with national and international standards organizations to fully coordinate and harmonize its standards as well as to avoid duplication. SAE is the administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the International Standards Organization (ISO) committee for aircraft and space vehicles. Many SAE air and space committees interface with ISO and provide the majority of the U.S. delegates for ISO’s counterpart committees. These activities stimulate communication among international technical experts and provide a valuable service to the international aerospace community.
In 1999, SAE’s aerospace standards program had more than 7,533 participants on 273 committees which represented 930 companies and organizations. The development process for aerospace standards and technical information (Figure 2-2) is very similar to the process for ground vehicles. As a very dynamic area, aerospace standards are influenced by many factors such as industry consolidation, MIL SPEC conversions, regulatory agencies, computerization, and rapid changes.
Figure 2-1. Aerospace Council Organization
Figure 2-2. Aerospace Document Process
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