Hi @Jerry, I no longer work with composites here in academia so I'm surprised and curious to hear about the rising price of composite material. Are you talking about the raw fiber, such as woven CF and Kevlar? I would expect that the raw CF and Kevlar fiber and weaves production process would be highly automated and subject to downward price pressure due to economies of scale.
If you are talking about OEM composite parts, I can appreciate the increase in cost. The limiting manufacturing step in composite part production continues to be layup and fiber orientation, most often provided by highly-skilled manual labor. I'm guessing that as composites become more popular, engineers and tool designers will set to the task of automating the layup process.
Over the last 10 yrs composite material OEM prices have doubled!! They keep talking about CF price dropping but where is it?
2 flying cars have first flights this week and others have been around for 50 yrs like the Taylor Aero-Car. Interesting it's composite was paper varnished? together!!!!!! Sadly hard to find the old fiber Kraft paper for bags now, just glued mush.
I disagree that CF only in the load paths when Kevlar types is better in many ways in tension at much less money. Not just for ground rash protection though it really shines there too. I use a layer most inside my composite car to spread the loads and hold everything together in a crash, something CF could never do.
The plane is very impressive except it's main point, it's rather poor seakeeping hull/water design. I'm into Seaplanes and Wing In Ground Effect craft along with my 35 yrs doing boats. Looking at it's specs and comparing them to well done normal hulled Seaplanes and just don't see any fuel economy increase to back their claims.
While it's probably fine in perfect calm waters I wouldn't want to be in it in any kind of waves other Seaplanes can handle easily.
Sad part about small planes is they fall out of the sky way too often. I belonged to the EAA and planes were killing way too many mostly because of stalls. Yet there are plane designs that can't stall yet everyone keeps buying these doctor killers as many call them.
One design that I like is called the Spratt control wing where each wing pivots about it's Center of Lift set so the wing dips, picking up speed, instead of stalling automatically. I have a seaplane designed this way I hope to do in a few yrs.
Ann, I may have missed it but I didn't see FAA certified anywhere in the article. Their website suggests you, "can build in the functionality you want." Which doesn't suggest a complete go-buy-it aircraft. I like the design but I have seen many manufacturers die while trying to acheve FAA certification. A current example, Lancair Columbia, then Columbia, and after money problems the design was purchased by Cessna. If they already have certification I wish them well. It is a VERY hard market to succeed in. Bill
The AKOYA is not designed to be sold as a kit--it's a fully functional, customized plane for very well-to-do people for their entirely private use. That said, we can still compare it from the design and function standpoints to flying cars.
ChasChas, what a great metaphor--a single-tool Swiss Army knife. I also like the incredible economy of function. Too bad this isn't being considered in the commercial sector--but design ideas can certainly cross markets.
Beth, to answer your question, designs like this are unlikely to ever be comercialized. The plane will probably be sold as a homebuilt kit. Experimental designs are prohibited by the FAR's from use other than recreational. There are a few exceptions but those are mostly for flight training rather than comercial. All the hype about electric powered aircraft is also baloney. E-planes make less sense than e-cars. The weight factor of the batteries makes it much harder to take off. Cars don't want to leave the ground so they can get away with an extra 500 pounds, but in a 2 place aircraft that might amount to the entire payload. I do like the use of composites though. The high initial cost-to-manufacture being the only serious concern. Not just the cost of the composites, but also the price of the molds and attachments. That said I think the plane looks realy exciting and hope they do well. I am an EAA member and homebuilder myself so I'm generally for anything that promotes General Aviation. Bill J
Yes, this new plane is very exciting, apparently a breakthrough design in the general aviation catagory, picking up where past great sea planes, like the Otter, left off. The problem, from my prospective, is that it is being designed and manufactured in France, instead of the USA. What is wrong with our national industrial climate when an over regulated, over taxed and inefficient unionized workforce in France can make a cutting edge product like this, while a US-based icon of small plane manufacturing, Hawker Beechcraft, struggles with backruptcy? We'd better get smart, fast, and fix the manufacturing environment in the US, or we will be collectively "Out of Business". I don't know all the answers, but I'm pretty sure France is succeeding *despite* the hinderances mentioned above, not because of them, As such, these are elements we need to eliminate or minimize to regain our competitive edge, not grow, as the Democrats would lead us to believe.
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