1295. Metrication and the Aerospace Industry


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G Henning: 1295. Metrication and the Aerospace Industry. 1979.



The U.S. efforts toward conversion to the metric (SI) system of measurement are at the crossroads! Early efforts, including those of the SAWE, toward conversion have slowed, due to the immensity of the problem. This paper assesses current policies and efforts toward and against conversion as they affect the aerospace industry and the SAWE position on metrication.
The positive efforts, along many fronts, to arrive at conversion plans, were dealt a severe blow by the October 1978 U. S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress. This extensive two-year study report is highly critical of national conversion to metric. The GAO chastised certain government departments for encouraging metric changeover. The report is examined in some detail, especially as it relates to the U.S. aerospace industry.
Meanwhile, the aerospace industry maintains a position of ‘informed readiness.’ Progress is being made on the engineering standards problem. The use of hybrid designs, having both U.S. customary and metric units, has proven acceptable and will be used on many products. Metrication was not killed by the GAO report, but it certainly was wounded! A ten-year conversion timetable, often mentioned, looks unrealistic now. There is no doubt that, if U.S. metrication continues forward or not, aerospace engineers will be using dual units and standards for many years to come.


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