Marenco Swisshelicopter will roll out its SKYe SH09 single-turbine light helicopter on November 28 in Mollis, Switzerland. An offshoot of a machine-tool specialist, the company is emphasizing the SH09’s carbon-fiber airframe, which for prominence on the prototype it has left unpainted in “key areas, such as the tailboom and shrouded tail rotor.” The 5,800-pound aircraft was announced in 2011, at which time its first flight was planned for 2012.
Teaming with the Technical University of Darmstadt, German cabin completion and MRO specialist Lufthansa Technik (LHT) is developing new methods for load transmission into carbon-fiber composite aircraft fuselage structures in executive aircraft.
Lufthansa Technik (LHT), in conjunction with the Fiber Force research project, has developed methods for load transmission into carbon fiber composite (CFC) aircraft fuselage structures.
Cirrus Aircraft announced the expansion of its Grand Forks, N.D. facility to accommodate a new autoclave oven in preparation for production of the all-composite Vision SF50 jet. Modifications to the Grand Forks plant began in May and the autoclave was delivered late last week, with installation now under way.
“The building housing the autoclave will be constructed around this large piece of equipment,” Cirrus said, “and is expected to be complete by the end of July with a fully operational autoclave by mid-August.”
Smac Aero, a Toulon, France-based company specializing in elastomers for soundproofing and vibration dampening, is here at the Paris Air Show (Hall 2B Stand C140-158) exhibiting Smacpreg, a combination of pre-impregnated (prepreg) carbon fibers with a layer of rubber. As CEO Philippe Robert emphasized during a visit to the company’s development and production facilities, the new product is suited to fiber placement robots.
Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Nordam Interiors and Structures division (Hall 3 Stand E145) has manufactured its 20,000th composite window frame for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is the first ever composite window frame for a commercial airliner and it features an almost 50 percent weight reduction compared with traditional aluminum frames, according to Nordam, as well as “superior damage tolerance.”
The Nordam window frame incorporates Hexcel HexMC low-density composite material, which is made from high-strength carbon fiber and epoxy resin.
Bombardier relies heavily on a new factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland, run by its Short Brothers subsidiary for CSeries wing production. Built with the help of £60 million ($90 million) from the UK government, the 600,000-sq-ft plant on the northwest side of Belfast City Airport’s runway specializes in new resin transfer infusion (RTI) fabrication techniques refined at other Bombardier plants in the region, in Dunmurry and Newtownabbey.
EADS Innovation Works is reviewing options for the materials Airbus could use on an airplane to replace the A320eo in 2022. The competition between metal and composites remains intense, prompting EADS IW boss Yann Barbaux to advise against betting on a full-composite airplane, now designated the A30X.
Future Falcon business jets may use composite materials for their wings, but the fuselages will likely continue to be constructed from aluminum alloys. Speaking at a conference organized by the French Air and Space Academy in Paris in late November, Philippe Vautey, a Dassault senior expert in aerostructure technologies, outlined the company’s vision for Falcons that might enter service “four to eight years” from now. He would not clarify whether this includes the still-under-wraps Falcon SMS.
The ever-increasing use of composites in aerospace has given rise to technological advances not only in aerodynamics but in so-called green disciplines. Engineers have studied different processes for decades, and recycled composites from Boeing 787s have already found their way onto recreational products such as kayak paddles.