Prescribing New Industry Solutions through National Aerospace Standards

For over 100 years, the aerospace and defense industry has shaped the modern world. But the innovations that move, connect, and secure our world are not always born directly out of aerospace and defense. Sometimes, they’re inspired by other industries, including the medical field.

From CT scans to organ transplants, medicine and aerospace have often inspired new ways for industry to improve our daily lives. That’s exactly the case with the two newest National Aerospace Standards (NAS) part standards.

NAS9936, Bolt, Radial Lock, and NAS9937, Nut Assembly, Dual Lock, published on March 31, 2020, use a locking system originally designed by a neurosurgeon. After watching the latest treatment for spinal lumbar fusion surgery, a six hour procedure with a three to four month recovery period, Dr. Harold Hess knew there had to be a better way. So he worked with engineers to develop an easier procedure which went through the side, as opposed to the back, and a new mechanism to better secure the spinal implant in place. This didn’t just work – it transformed the procedure, cutting surgery time to 12 minutes and recovery down to just days.

But Dr. Hess realized his invention wasn’t just an improvement to this one procedure – it could also be applied to other industries, including aerospace and defense.

His bolt and nut combination are a permanent locking solution that is reversible and reusable, and with its capability to withstand high vibration environments (like a patient living their life after surgery), it also serves as a perfect solution for commercial, military, and space systems operations. In fact, the system surpassed industry vibration test method requirements by tenfold!

Dr. Hess has since become the CEO of Enduralock – an associate member of AIA – where he serves on AIA’s National Aerospace Standards Committee, helping the organization develop and improve its aerospace industry standards. For his work on the locking mechanism, Hess was even a winner of NASA iTech, a pitch competition that identifies cutting-edge tech to help innovate our world.

You’ve heard all too often that “it’s not rocket science” or “it’s not brain surgery.” Well, for Dr. Harold Hess, his work actually is rocket science AND brain surgery. And for aerospace and defense, he and his new standards serve as a valuable lesson in what we can gain from partnering with other innovative industries. To download copies of the latest standards, please visit AIA’s Standards Store