Perspectives on Innovation

"The work of the individual still remains the spark which moves mankind ahead." - igor sikorsky

Chris Van Buiten - Chris Van Buiten is the Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he runs the Sikorsky Innovations group responsible for maturing next-generation technologies including X2 technology™, active rotor, and autonomy, as well as defining next-generation products.

Mr. Van Buiten joined Sikorsky in 1989 where he has been engaged in the conceptual and preliminary design of Sikorsky products including the S-92® commercial transport, the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, and the UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter, as well as several advanced concepts.

He has served as Chief of Preliminary Design and Manager of Advanced Design and has led Sikorsky’s Strategic Planning group. Chris led Sikorsky’s acquisition of the PZL Mielec Aircraft Company in Mielec, Poland . He has also served as a Technical Fellow for Advanced System Design.

Mr. Van Buiten was a Glenn L. Martin Aerospace Scholar at the University of Maryland, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace degree in 1989. He received a Master of Science in System Design and Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sloan School of Business in 1999.

Chris on the notion of Innovation - Innovation is broader than technology. To me innovation means doing things differently. We can innovate in a number of dimensions in addition to those which are technical. The new multi-function cell phones are clearly innovative due to the integration of technology, information access, user interface, business partnerships and marketing. Innovation can come from new combinations of technologies applied to new problems. The success of our next new product will demand innovation in many dimensions to differentiate it from everything else, to develop it around the world and to design, test and certify it in half the time it has taken in the past.

Chris on new technologies - I remain passionate about wireless technology as a means to improve our products and innovate the way we test, build and support them. The amount of wire being installed on a typical aircraft has nearly tripled over the past 15 years with the introduction of glass cockpits, new sensors, Health and Usage Monitoring, and active vibration control. Wireless used in combination with several other technologies offer the potential of reversing the wire growth trend.

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