GKN Aerospace has delivered a pair of thermoplastic composite, induction welded Ruddervators, and two compression-moulded Access Panels manufactured from re-used thermoplastic waste material, to Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company. Ruddervators are the control surfaces for an aircraft with a V-tail configuration. As partner on Bell’s Team Valor, GKN Aerospace has designed and manufactured the complete thermoset composite V-Tail for the Bell V-280 Valor. The Ruddervators and Access Panels are technology demonstrators and are planned for flight testing on the aircraft in 2019. This will make the V-280 one of the first military aircraft flying with thermoplastic components.
GKN Aerospace is a technology leader in thermoplastic technology with thermoplastic rudders, elevators and fuselage panels flying on a wide range of business jets.
Injection of this technology on a military platform opens opportunities for wider application in the defence market. Thermoplastics offer significant advantages in terms of weight, costs, production time and environmental impact.
The two compression-moulded Access Panels have been manufactured from recycled thermoplastic waste material from the two Ruddervators and have been developed in a Dutch TPC-Cycle research program led by Saxion. GKN Aerospace is a partner in the research program.
In parallel to the demonstrator program, the GKN Aerospace global design team supports Bell with further design optimization of the V-Tail.
John Pritchard CEO GKN Aerospace ASEA says: ’’We are proud to be part of Team Valor and to be selected for the design of the V tail. It is very exciting that our cutting edge thermoplastic technology will be flight tested for the first time on the state-of-the-art V-280 Valor.’’