2017 US Aviation Tour:Day2September 26, 2017


*Visit to Toray* 
On the first day of this tour, we visited the Tacoma factory of Toray Composite Materials America Company in Tacoma City, Washington State. In the morning we received a brief explanation of the company in the conference room and we took a tour of the factory afterwards. Prepregs produced at this factory are shipped to the Boeing Company, which owns factories in Washington State, and are used for Boeing 787 and other aircrafts. Because of the hygiene control in the factory, we entered the factory after covering us with a special suit, shoes and airshower to prevent contamination of dust. While we were visiting the manufacturing processes, production machines and inspection process of prepregs, students were asking questions actively the guidance staff. Especially enthusiastic and advanced questions were given by chemistry students who study carbon nanotubes.
After the factory tour, a presentation by the students was held surrounding our pizza lunch. The contents of the presentation was the recycling of CFRP. Currently, about 400 aircraft are disassembled in a year, and it is anticipated that the numbers will increase in the future; therefore practical application of recycling is indispensable. On the other hand, CFRP is difficult to recycle as compared to metal materials. In the presentation, commercial issues in practical use of CFRP recycling, Boeing’s efforts to recycle, Toray’s efforts to recycle, and Toray's future efforts were discussed. In response to this presentation, Japanese engineers and local American engineers explained the prospects of recycling from both a technological and commercial perspective. Also, questions were issued from several students about the explanation, and a very hot debate was ensured.
*Museum of Flight*
After we finished a visit to Toray in the afternoon, we dropped by to the museum on our way back to Seattle. This museum owns and displays numerous aircraft and is the largest aviation museum in the West Coast of the USA. A large amount of aircrafts were exhibited in the exhibition room, which took advantage of the wide space of the colonnade at the height corresponding to a total of 4 floors. The exhibition models were diverse. SR-71 was sitting in the center and attracting visitors' attentions. Besides it were fighter planes, airliners, manned airplanes, UAVs and spacecraft which were displayed narrowly. At the exhibition section of the warfare military aircraft, there was a form of the former Imperial Japanese Army's type 1 fighter “Falcon”. The museum also had an exhibition space on the other side across the road. There was a full-size model for Space shuttle training and a number of rocket items were on display. In addition, there were aircraft exhibition corners outdoors, such as the famous passenger aircraft such as Concorde, VC - 137 (presidential special aircraft), B747, B787. Relatively recent jet fighters seuch as F - 14, B-29, which is deeply related to Japanese people, were also exhibited.
While being overwhelmed by the enormous number of exhibits, the students enjoyed their fulfilling exhibitions. The number of exhibition machines exceeded 150, we felt a difference in scale when compared to the Japanese aircraft museum, and a strong respect for all aviation technologies of USA.
After completing the first two days of the tour, we became accustomed to America. The presentation in English was very hard to prepare, but we were able to finish on time. In the second part, we will deliver an overview about our visit to the Boeing’s Everett Factory, Grant County International Airport, and Japan Business Association of Seattle.