First Composite Homebuilt?

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JohnB

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The Marvel research plane from August "Gus" Raspet at the University of Mississippi in the mid-1960's should be mentioned, but I don't know whether it had a fully composite primary structure (initially it was built "around" an Anderson-Greenwood AG-14 but grew to be very different).

The AG-14's (all 5 of them) were totally aluminum construction. I owned #2 which had previously belonged to Uof M. They built a different set of wings to explore boundary layer control by using a zillion tubes fitted to the underside of the top skin, attempting to futher lower the pressure on top of the wing. Those were also alum. They DID scab on a bunch of glass panels to the nose for cg requirements but I removed it and hauled to dump.
Plane eventually found a proper owner who restored it to flying condition.
Side note: C G Taylor did the test flights on Serial #5 when the engine was upgraded to 0-200.
John B
 

Deuelly

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There was an experimental BT-15 built during November 1943 that used fiberglass and balsa core on it's aft fuselage and side panels. I've got the article on it somewhere. It's got a lot of neat pictures and test data.

It's not a homebuilt but shows some really neat pioneering in composite construction.

Brandon
 

Riggerrob

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During World War 2, Miles (United Kingdom) built a few dozen horizontal stabilizer sets of asbestos fibers glued together. I suspect that they used phenolic resin as glue.
 

Skippydiesel

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Technically all aircraft are composite - composite meaning a combination of materials with differing (complimentary) characteristics used to create the whole (aircraft).

That said I would consider aircraft using a large percentage of wood to be the origional composites (wood, often of differing species, usually fabric, sometimes leather, "rubber", glues and a range of metals ).
 

BJC

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Technically all aircraft are composite - composite meaning a combination of materials with differing (complimentary) characteristics used to create the whole (aircraft).

That said I would consider aircraft using a large percentage of wood to be the origional composites (wood, often of differing species, usually fabric, sometimes leather, "rubber", glues and a range of metals ).
Apparently, there as many definitions of "composite structure as there are HBAers. I like this one, which, I think, is in alignment with what Ron is asking about.



BJC
 

addaon

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Yeah. A term that comes in useful here to out-nit the nit pickers is “FRP” — fiber reinforced plastic. Can argue about the details (I’m sure if someone built a metal-matrix composite homebuilt in the 50s that would be relevant, but they didn’t…), but close enough.
 

Fiberglassworker

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One of the things to determine here is whether you mean composite i.e., wood and fabric etc. Or advanced composites involving the use of woven fabrics and synthetic resins.
As others have mentioned here composite aircraft go back to before World War one. Advanced composites are mostly post WW2 starting with the FS24 Phoenix at Akafleig Stuttgart in1957 The Glasflugel H 301 in 1964, Then the Diamont sailplane by FFA in 1968 At the same time Dr Leo Windecker produced and type certified his eagle airplane in 1969, also in 1969 Art Zimmerman and Wolfgang Shaer produced the Concept 70 sailplane of which 21 were produced.
So, you can see that by the late 50s to early 60s advanced composites were well on their way.
Prior to that several aircraft companies in the USA experimented with molded Glassfiber shapes using phenolic resins.
 

Fiberglassworker

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Ron: Might I suggest you see if you can dig up (maybe needs to be literally interpreted) anyone from Windecker crew? I find it hard to imagine anyone would have learned enough to design/build/certify without enough of the skillset leaking out into the E/AB community of the time and place. Same for 10 years earlier around Bolkow crews. How's your German?
Dr Windecker spent a vast amount of time researching various composite materials while fielding questions from the FAA, the wing skins were made from a 1/4 to 3/8 material composed of fiberglass cloth stacked in layers with1" Styrofoam, cured then band sawed into 1/4 or 3/8 thick skins with the fiberglass skins going from inner to outer skin. Knowing that fuel attacked Styrofoam the FAA promptly asked what happens if fuel gets in the wing? So, Dr Windecker promptly took a finished wing skin flushed the Styrofoam out with acetone then subjected it to static load tests. The Eagle was certified without the foam.
 

Norman

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The Horten HVa was the first composite airplane.
You can read more about it here:
ho_v_a_blurb
View attachment 130508
FRP training glider wing built in 1936 to test the feasibility of using that material... cool. It's amusing to me that Dynamite AG chose the Hortens to build the wing of a Lippisch glider out of plastic and paper. I don't think I'd feel safe in an airplane made out of what's basically Formica though but it was pioneering research.
 

Riggerrob

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I think Piper built a one or two seat fiberglass prototype before Windecker.
But neither were Homebuilt’s as requested here.
Piper PA-29 Papoose was a low-wing, 2-seater, trainer prototype built of all FRP that first flew in 1964. It was powered by the same Continental O-200 engine as its Cessna competitor (Cessna 150 trainer). Only a single Papoose prototype was built and it sat in the EAA Museum (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) before moving to the Piper Museum at Lock Haven, Connecticut.
 

pfarber

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A composite aircraft is made up of multiple component craft. It takes off and flies initially as a single aircraft, with the components able to separate in flight and continue as independent aircraft.[1] Typically the larger aircraft acts as a carrier aircraft or mother ship, with the smaller sometimes called a parasite or jockey craft.[2]

The first composite aircraft flew in 1916, during World War I, when the British launched a Bristol Scout from a Felixstowe Porte Baby flying boat. Between the World Wars, American experiments with airship/biplane composites led to the construction of two airborne aircraft carriers, while the British Short Mayo seaplane composite demonstrated successful transatlantic mail delivery. During the Second World War some composites saw operational use[1] including the Mistel ("mistletoe"), the larger unmanned component of a composite aircraft configuration developed in Germany during the later stages of World War II, in effect a two-part manned flying bomb. Experiments continued into the jet age, with large aircraft carrying fully capable parasite fighters or reconnaissance drones, though none entered service.

"Composite aircraft" can also refer to aircraft made using composite materials.

As per the agreement of the Internet membership, any post directly quoting Wikipedia is officially null of and void of any consideration towards any topic, ever
 

Bill-Higdon

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As far as actual homebuilding (a guy in his garage, making something new, and then actually flying it), the oldest I can think of is Ol' Ironsides from the 1960s. If it wasn't the first homebuilt to use fiberglass structurally as a stressed skin, it was real close.

View attachment 130563

Kenneth Champion's Jupiter series beat Ron Scott See aerofiles.com also old Sport Aciations
 
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