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Innovation Awards winners named

March 12, 2012, 10:20 am

Aviation Week recently named the winners of its 2012 Innovation Challenge, recognizing the latest aerospace and defense suppliers' responses to market needs, cost improvements and positive effects on integration barriers. The awards are the result of industry leaders coming together to identify areas where innovation was needed in aviation and defense, with specific focus on industry action, insights and observations.

"The Innovation Challenge attracted more than 160 new and emerging innovations, and what we found was humbling," said Greg Hamilton, president of Aviation Week. "The days of small startups are far from over. Innovation is alive and well throughout the supply chain."

Awards were given to groundbreaking ideas, products and services in electronics, aero structures, communications, advanced material composites, manufacturing processes, process innovation, power and propulsion, sensors and service products. Some of the winners honored at the event included Integrated Structures for its 3-D metal forming, Mankino for its machining technology, Adducent Technology for its tool detection system and Fraunhofer ILT for its solutions to reduce material loss and production costs.

The awards are significant as a recent report commissions from the Aerospace Industries Association illustrated the irreplaceable impact the aerospace and defense industry has on the U.S. economy and national security. The industry supports more than 3 million American workers but is facing severe cuts from the federal budget.

The aerospace and defense industry reported sales of $324 billion in 2010 throughout the United States, and is the No. 1 contributor to the country's positive trade balance, at a net $42 billion. The study predicts more than 1 million American jobs could be lost if the industry's budget is cut. This would push unemployment up 0.6 percent across the country and cut the gross domestic product projected growth by 25 percent.

"Sequestration threatens to devastate our industry's contributions to America's bottom line," said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of AIA. "This report sends the clear reminder that sequestration is a local, community issue, [and] the jobs at stake are not here in Washington, D.C. Over 1 million American jobs and the security of our nation are at stake."

According to the AIA, the Budget Control Act of 2011 calls for Congress to cut $1 trillion from the budget, or else the defense budget will be cut by $600 million on top of the $487 billion already expected to be taken out. The budget cuts could also impact the Federal Aviation Administration's implementation of a Next Generation air transportation program to unify and simplify the aviation industry, as well as cut NASA funding to develop a new vehicle to go to the International Space Station.

As the aviation industry battles to innovate and grow, pilots should not lose track of the fundamentals of safety in the sky. Pilot insurance plays a key rule to protecting pilots and passengers from the unexpected.

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