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Skybolt returns American Astronauts to Space

In 2018, Ned and Debra Bowers visited the SpaceX facility in Hawthorn, California.  Bowers is quick to make light of the average age of the brilliant engineers at SpaceX by describing how many skateboards he ran over trying to park in their massive employee lot. Skybolt was at SpaceX to exchange ideas on new fastener technology of interest to SpaceX.  During the presentation to several engineers at SpaceX, Bowers had to ask, “Where are you using the designs we are currently providing?”  The answer was, Crew Dragon.  “So, as you guys build everything here, might I assume you have a Crew Dragon laying around?” “Yep, you want to see one?”

Ned and Debra Bowers of Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners at SpaceX in California. The Falcon in the background actually flew….although it landed at a different location.

Deb and I were escorted through various halls and stairwells until arriving at Crew Dragon.  We donned booties and white suits (SpaceX issue) and crawled in.  Bowers’s first reaction, the entire interior has the Skybolt logo on everything.  “Can I put a decal on this thing?”  “You can’t put a decal on a spaceship”, was the answer.  Bowers agreed, “I asked Werner Von Braun that same question in 1971 during Apollo and he was not impressed with the idea either”.  The following discussion was highly classified as there are not many people who worked on the Saturn V also working on Crew Dragon.

Even the employee cafeteria at SpaceX was high tech.  The menu items are sent via smartphone; the engineers punch in what they prefer; the phone rings when lunch is ready.  Less minutes in the lunch line; more minutes designing spaceships.

In May, Ned and Deb were on Cocoa Beach anxiously awaiting liftoff of a historical mission; the fact that private enterprise, a company that did not even exist much over a decade ago, was returning America to space. “And Skybolt was part of this mission and missions to come”.  Bowers’s eyes were glued to the television soundbites from inside Crew Dragon.  “Many camera angles caught the overhead compartments and Skybolt fasteners, only they were hard to notice because the wings were all in the folded position.  But I knew they were there, and it was one of the design patents we use in everything from semi-trucks to spacecraft.”

One of our unique fastener designs is part of the crew hatch.  “I suggested that I also be part of the closeout of the crew hatch prior to launch as this is a critical fastener.”  That went about the same path as the decal, unfortunately.

Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners COVID-19 Updates

Loyal Customers of Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners:

We are reaching out to share with our customers operation plans with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. On-line sales are operating at 100% and the traditional Skybolt fast lead times have not been affected. This is a fluid and rapidly developing situation, but as of this week our plan is as follows:

Our Team: The highest priority right now is the health and safety of Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners team. We have implemented social distancing and hygienic protocols within our facility to help with preventing the transmission of the virus. We are asking any employee with symptoms or known exposure to quarantine at home. This may temporarily impact quick replies to customer service and the processing of orders. We ask for your understanding during this time as we work towards minimal business interruptions.

Phone & E-Commerce Orders: Our team is handling orders quickly and timely while working with logistics of carriers to continue shipments around the world. We will make any updates available on our website if this becomes impacted in a severe way. As a company with one of the largest e-commerce sites for fasteners, it’s easy to continue to work on your projects while placing orders online.  

U.S. Domestic Production: Since we manufacture approx. 99% of our patent products in Florida, we will still be able to provide a quick turnaround for custom projects. Contact our support team for any questions. 

Upcoming Shows: We were excited to see you in Miami at at the PartsBase EXPO, MRO Americas in Dallas, TX, and the Farnborough International Airshow in England, however the first two shows have been postponed until further notice. Farnborough Int’l Airshow is still planned for late July.

This is a great time to begin work on projects that you haven’t had time to focus on as you realign your efforts. Contact our engineer to discuss any fastener problems you have or solutions you need. 

We wish you the best during this unprecedented temporary transition from normality. Hoping for clear skies ahead as we come together to tackle this pandemic. Thank you very much for your commitment to Skybolt.

Ned Bowers, President, & the Skybolt Team

35th Anniversary Catalog Released

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35th Anniversary Catalog | 2017 | 160 Pages

Skybolt announces the latest edition of the ‘Skybolt Catalog’ while celebrating our 35th year of innovation, manufacturing, and distribution of aerospace fasteners. This edition brings together our extensive manufactured line of ¼-Turn Panel Fasteners along with the traditional AN-MS-NAS fastener hardware. This combination is a wealth of technical information surrounding fastening hardware, particularly the world of ¼-Turn Panel Fasteners that are interchangeable (FAA TSO-C148) with Camloc®, Dzus®, Airloc®, and Southco® fasteners. Like our previous editions of the Skybolt Catalog, this may be one of the best tools in every tool box!

Skybolt has served the Aerospace and Automotive Racing industries since 1982 through distribution and manufacturing of high quality, traceable aerospace fasteners. We specialize in ¼-Turn Panel and Cowling fasteners, specifically in 303 stainless and our unique lightweight, high strength Skytanium® materials.

In 1993, Skybolt developed high tech manufacturing processes to produce innovative ¼-turn fasteners. Developments in the aerospace and racing markets presented opportunities to design higher quality, higher strength lightweight fasteners. Skybolt achieved three US Patents on adjustable designs that allow one fastener length to adjust to any panel thickness. We quickly introduced these designs into the FAA approval process for use on certified aircraft. We have gone on to add additional patent applications for adjustable CLoc® Fasteners.

We identified every weak point in every fastener design and capitalized on better designs. Skybolt became the leading source for all variations of cowling fasteners common to commercial aircraft. To further develop our “kit” concept, and to create better controls on quality, we began manufacturing industry standard cowling fasteners in-house. Skybolt could now enhance quality, strength, and luster finish. We were free to innovate and innovate we did. The new Skytanium® alloys, developed by Skybolt, decreased weight by 40% to 50% while maintaining MIL-F-5591C and NASM5591 strength!

The Skytanium® ¼-Turn fastener and derivatives can eliminate serious weight from helicopters, UAVs, existing commercial airliners, and be the perfect answer to the Boeing 787 and Airbus 380 programs.

Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners will introduce new product designs at Farnborough International Airshow 2020

The Farnborough Airshow is a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defense industries. This is a biennial airshow which takes place on even-numbered years and alternates with the Paris Airshow which takes place on odd-numbered years. 

Farnborough is the oldest active airfield in the UK and has been associated with aircraft and airships since 1908. 

Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners is a manufacturer and distributor of the highest grade stainless steel 1/4 turn panel fasteners, grommets & receptacles. Skybolt innovates many other fastening solutions and designs are Tier I, II, and III approved with major commercial aircraft and component manufacturers, including land-based defense, and aerospace launch vehicle companies.

Skybolt is Small Manufacturer of the Year 2019 – Manufacturing Association of Central Florida

Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners was awarded the Small Manufacturer of the Year Award by the Manufacturing Association of Central Florida for 2019 at the MACF Annual President’s Dinner & Awards of Excellence.

Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners is a manufacturer and distributor of the highest grade stainless steel 1/4 turn panel fasteners, grommets & receptacles. Skybolt innovates many other fastening solutions and designs are Tier I, II, and III approved with major commercial aircraft and component manufacturers, including land-based defense, and aerospace launch vehicle companies.

Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners showcases at the Paris Air Show, La Bourget 2019

Bon Voyage! We’ll see you there. Booth 3-BC7 at the 53rd International Paris Air Show Le Bourget 2019

Skybolt announces their participation at the 53rd International Paris Air Show Le Bourget 2019.  Partnering with Enterprise Florida, this marks a huge milestone in our ability to meet directly with international customers in our Tier I, II, and III partnerships.

“It is important for the future of Skybolt to establish our company as a true innovative manufacturer of panel fastening devices”, says Ned Bowers, founder and President since 1982.  “The international stage is not new to me following 37 years of international flying for names like Pan Am and Delta”. “In fact, Skybolt feels right at home with our growing list of international customers”.  This opportunity is evidence of our devotion to do business on a world stage”, says Bowers.

SKYBOLT Completes Airbus Tier 1 Supplier Training – Toulouse, France

President, Ned Bowers and Vice President, Debra Bowers recently attended the Airbus Academy Training for Tier 1 Suppliers in Toulouse, France.  This intense course is designed to establish the expected standards of acceptance for quality and on time supply of critical aerospace hardware to Airbus.

“I’ve been through some of the best of the best training programs in the world, from NASA to several airline pilot training courses and I have to say, this is was a top shelf learning curve in quality standards”, stated Ned Bowers.  “Just when I thought I had a clue, at this level, a clue is just a learner’s permit”.

We bring back the lessons of this course to our everyday business with a new perspective on world class quality programs and expectations.

“One important eye opener is the cost of a quality program on the level of Airbus; but the cost to not be on that level is even higher”, said Bowers.

Ned Bowers, President of Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners at Airbus Academy
Debra Bowers, Vice President of Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners at Airbus Academy

Skybolt® has developed a unique tool to remove all Camloc® or CLoc® grommet retainers with ease

Skybolt® New SK-T27 Tool allows you to grip the retainer gap, expand the retainer, to easily pick off with your finger. Easily removes R4G and R4T style retainers.

$39.00 Ea – Shop Online

Skybolt® SK-T26 Tool – Did you know our tool is really two tools in one? Only the Skybolt SK-T26 Tool combines the Camloc® T26 and Camloc® T98 tools into one. With our single tool, you can install 2000 and 4000 series retainers simply by switching ends.

$26.00 Ea – Shop Online

Skybolt achieves AS9100D ISO 9001:2015 Certification

Leesburg, Florida – The journey to AS9100 standards began in 2011 when we wrote our QMS Manual as a dual AS9100 and CFR21.137, approved by the FAA. The final step to AS9100 was certification from the International Aerospace Quality Group and NSF International. In 2017, we began a very methodical and focused effort to achieve this certification. The entire Skybolt team played a role in this process. We are proud to also say, this process has improved substantially, our entire quality focused efforts; the ultimate benefit is our customer.