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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2020 Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Racing Toward Reliability When I have the opportunity to sit and pon- der the pressures on our industry, I continually return to the Executive Forums at IPC APEX EXPO. The drumbeat throughout those ses- sions was that automotive would require an order of magnitude more manufacturing reli- ability than we currently enjoy at an order of magnitude more volume. That sort of challenge will require some fundamental changes in how we approach reliability. Iterative improvement will be a requirement, but that certainly won't be enough to deliver orders of magnitude on two different measures, will it? That set us to thinking about what's happen- ing in reliability, and it reminded me of a bit of aviation history. The Schneider Prize competition (officially known as the Coupe d'Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider) was the trophy awarded to the winner of a seaplane race held between 1913 and 1931 [1] . For aviation history buffs, The Schneider Trophy races are deeply meaningful. The first competition was held in April 1913 in Monaco. From the start, teams for the Schneider Trophy tended to be fielded by aviation clubs or teams. Much like the America's Cup sailboat races, teams represented their country during the competition. In 1913, Frenchman Maurice Prevost was the winning pilot, with an aver- age speed of 45 miles per hour (73.5 kph) [2] — not exactly a screaming speed. The next year, though, the winning plane clocked 86 mph (139.7 kph). Not unsurprisingly, the con- test inspired extreme compe- tition amongst the teams and countries. The Schneider Tro- phy became a proving ground for the latest aeronautical tech- nology [3] . Throughout, the com- petition was dogged by equip- ment failures and failed bids by teams; reliability was a clear issue in those days. In 1923, the first liquid-cooled engine arrived at the race, in an Amer- ican entry designed by Glenn Curtiss, funded by U.S. govern- ment sources and piloted by U.S. Navy aviators, with a win- ning speed of 177 mph (285 kph). By 1925, the winning speed was just over 232 mph; by 1927, it was 281 mph; and in 1931, the last year of the series, Forward fuselage and propeller detail of the prize-winning Supermarine S.6B, S1595 on display at the London Science Museum. (Source: Nimbus227 Wikimedia Commons)

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