First applications of composite material in home built or GA aircraft

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

YMO

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
15
I am researching the application of composite materials in home built or GA aircraft. I am looking for first application cases.
I have gathered information on German gliders which would place the first flight of a glider built of composites in 1958. The Wassmer WA 50 flew in 1966 in France. The first German GA aircraft the LFU 205 flew in 1968.
Please see the attachments for more information.
Do you know of other similar cases or earlier cases?
Thank you very much for your kind help.
I wish you a good weekend
 

Attachments

Riggerrob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
1,952
Location
Canada
Akafleug fs.24 Phonix sailplane first flew in November 1957. It was made of balsa and glass fibers held together by polyester resin. Since it was made by university students, it counts as amateur-built. It was made in female molds to achieve the precision required by new laminar airfoils. The primary goal was to reduce empty weight to reduce wing-loading to allow it to continue to fly in weak thermals.
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
14,926
Location
Port Townsend WA
Ken Champion home built Jupiter 1 around 1960‘s. Fiberglass wing skins. EAA Sport Aviation archive.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YMO

Marc W

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
675
Location
Colorado
Frank Kurtis, who built Kurtis Kraft race cars (he made it to Indy in the early '50's), told me that he worked on a project to make fiberglass ribs for B-17's during WW2. He said the project was not successful because they didn't have a suitable release agent.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YMO

Wanttaja

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
1,729
Location
Seattle, WA
Frank Kurtis, who built Kurtis Kraft race cars (he made it to Indy in the early '50's), told me that he worked on a project to make fiberglass ribs for B-17's during WW2. He said the project was not successful because they didn't have a suitable release agent.
Speaking of WWII, didn't the P-61 Black Widow have a fiberglass radome?

Ron Wanttaja
 

Riggerrob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
1,952
Location
Canada
Modern glass, kevlar and carbon composites are pre-dated by wooden composties that combined wood with various resins. The Duramold Process was patented by Virginius E. Clark - the same guy who drew the widely-used Clark Y airfoil. Duramold combined wood plys with phenolic resin cured in an oven.
During WW2, Duramold was used by Farichild (AT-21), Timm and deHavilland. DH molded wooden monocoque airframes for Comet, Albatross, Mosquito and Vampire.
1,069 Avro Anson trainers were built in Canada with Duramold monocoque fuselages.
Howard Hughes used Duramold to built his huge H-4 Spruce Goose seaplane.
The USSR also built thousands of war planes with wooden composite materials including Bakelite.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YMO

cvairwerks

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
261
Location
North Texas
Something that revolutionized Duramold, was during the early part of WW2, was the development of dry sheet RF cured adhesives. It was no longer a wet layup process. The entire shape could be laid up and cured in a single cycle. It took around 40-60kW of microwave energy directed thru the mold to cure the dry sheet adhesives.
 

YMO

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
15
Thank you all for your constructive comments.
let’s hope for more of the same league
 

YMO

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
15
Akafleug fs.24 Phonix sailplane first flew in November 1957. It was made of balsa and glass fibers held together by polyester resin. Since it was made by university students, it counts as amateur-built. It was made in female molds to achieve the precision required by new laminar airfoils. The primary goal was to reduce empty weight to reduce wing-loading to allow it to continue to fly in weak thermals.
Thank you for sharing.
Akaflieg are universities aviation research groups. Created in 1920, they were re-created in 1951. Today around 12 in existence.
 

jvliet

Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2019
Messages
21
One of the entrants in the first Goodyear air race in 1947 was the "Californian" NX67893, race # 95 built by Ed F. Allenbaugh - this aircraft had a molded fiberglass fuselage shell.Allenbaugh Californian.PNGAllenbaugh Californian.PNG
 

Riggerrob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
1,952
Location
Canada
As an aside, Allegany Ballistics XF241 rocket took off in September 18, 1959.
Its rocket motor casing was made of spiralloy glass composites. Spiralloy was invented by Robert E. Young near Princeton, New Jersey. It was made of fiberglass filaments spiral woven around a mandrel. Filaments are bonded together with polyester resin. This technique is still widely used to make rockets and pressure cylinders (e.g. scuba tanks).

Young's name went down in history as "the Father of Modern Filament WInding."
His first patent dates back to 1946 for winding filaments coated in polyester resin.
Young's name went down in history as the "Father of Modern Filament Winding."
In 1951, he founded Young Development Laboratories near Princeton, New Jersey.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YMO

Martin W

Member
Joined
May 14, 2021
Messages
15
Probably a bit off topic but back in the 1940's Bell Helicopters and Hiller Helicopters covered their wood main rotors with fiberglass cloth and resin .... it provided a smooth finish and sealed them from moisture.

Many of those blades are still flying today with thousands of hours on them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YMO
Top