In 2017, Curtiss-Wright relocated its Avionics, Sensors & Controls and Industrial Business Units into a brand new, purpose built 160,000 ft2 (14,860 m2) facility at Bournemouth International Airport. The original business was founded in 1957 as Penny + Giles Ltd and expanded into multiple business units, primarily located and headquartered in Christchurch, Dorset. Curtiss Wright acquired the Aerospace and Sensors business units from Spirent Systems, the then Penny & Giles holding Company, in 2002. The Penny & Giles business units had each outgrown their facilities in Christchurch and wanted to consolidate a state of the art new facility to accommodate the growing business needs.

The facility has extensive design and manufacturing capabilities as well as in-house environmental stress screening. The facility has the following accreditations:


Making Flight Data Recorders for over 60 years

In 1955 Penny & Giles Limited was founded, initially to provide flight test instrumentation. A product line of various transducers and recording equipment was developed and by 1957 the first magnetic Accident Data Recorder (ADR), was test flown on a Gloster Meteor at the Boscombe Down Research Establishment, England.

Following the success of the early pioneering work in flight data recording, the company secured contracts with the UK Ministry of Defence to supply flight data recorders for fighter aircraft. These early recorders typically recorded 24 parameters onto stainless steel wire for duration of 4 hours.

Penny & Giles branched into commercial aviation when the UK Government announced that aircraft heavier than 25,000 lb were to be fitted with accident recorders. The overnight competition that subsequently appeared greatly accelerated the recorder development program and several systems using Mylar and stainless steel tape were produced.

The company developed the first combined Cockpit Voice (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR). As they were designed for military combat aircraft, the units had to be lightweight and small – crash survivability requirements also exceeded the existing standards for commercial aircraft.

The development of the recorders continued, and the recording medium has now been changed to solid-state memory devices. Curtiss-Wright continues this heritage today with the latest and most sophisticated flight data recorder – the Fortress.


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