OCT 2018


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OCTOBER 2018 12 CompositesWorld TRENDS AEROSPACE A recap of EAA's AirVenture 2018 and Covestro's new fiber thermoplastics products, plus Teijin's acquisition of European Inapal and a bio-based, composite bridge. "A 'perfect' event may be unattainable, but AirVenture 2018 came about as close as one could imagine," says Experimental Aircraft Assn. (EAA, Oshkosh, WI, US) chairman Jack Pelton. Given the combination of outstanding programs, aircraft variety, a robust economy and good weather, the week-long event, held July 22–28, attracted approximately 601,000 people, nearly 2% more than 2017's attendee record. More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. Wittman alone saw approximately 134 takeoffs/landings per hour. More than 75,000 people attended 1,500 forums, workshops and presentations, some of which involved composite materials and fabrication. Many of the aircraft at the show were compos- ites-intensive and represent innovative designs and concepts. One of these was exhibited by Terrafugia (Woburn, MA, US, a subsidiary of China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which owns Volvo, Lotus, and other international auto brands), founded in 2006. Under its new owner- ship it is now positioning itself as a major player in the realm of automated vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) urban air mobility vehicles and "personal on-demand aviation." At the show, it announced major design enhancements for the Transition, its in-development, two-place flying car that flew at Oshkosh five years ago, and also intro- duced its next transportation concept, a VTOL aircraft for passenger and cargo transport. First, the existing D2 Transition will be replaced soon by a Flight Assessment Vehicle for certification, which will incorporate the enhancements announced at the show. Among these enhancements: road driving power provided by a combination of an internal combustion engine and a LiFePO 4 (lithium iron phosphate chemistry) battery — a safer technology than other lithium battery chemistries, says Terrafugia. In flight mode, a boost feature will be added to the throttle for brief bursts of extra power. A full frame parachute system will also be added. The company has never given up in its quest for a flying car: "Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way," says Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran. "We are at the critical point where we can implement Personal aircraft and composites at EAA AirVenture 2018 the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing. This will improve function, safety and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience." The new features will enable the Transition to meet all US Federal Aviation Admin. (FAA) and US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety standards, while optimizing the flight experience for both pilot and passenger. Terrafugia says the first production vehicles will come to market in 2019. At the show, Terrafugia also introduced an integrated system designed for urban air transportation applica- tions. The TF-2 consists of a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft; a ground transportation vehicle; and a passenger (or cargo) pod that can be transported by the ground vehicle or slung under the VTOL. For on-demand people-moving, the concept calls for the ground vehicle carrying a passenger pod to pick up four passengers with luggage and transport them in the pod to a "vertiport," and attach the pod to Source | Opener Source | Art Eichmann/EAA AirVenture

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