what was happened to Fold-a-plane?

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cluttonfred

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As I understand it, Steve Rahm's Fold-a-Plane concept involved planning a composite design as a series of flat panels and radiused corners with the interior of the corners left as bare foam (possibly scored?) for the builder to finish with strips of cloth and resin once bent to the final shape. That saves on shipping costs as almost everything can be shipped flat, greatly reduces build time vs. traditional hand layup, and also reduces finish work as the parts can be made flat on a smooth surface so the exterior is already almost ready for paint.

It seems to me like it would make a lot of sense for a small operation doing low-volume kit production with CNC-cut materials (prepreg?) and a single flat vacuum table. If I wanted to get into the kit business with an easier and faster to build and cheaper to complete competitor to the RV types, that would be an obvious way to go. The Vision (now sold by Pro Composites) is about the only composite design that I would consider tackling and I think it's lack of popularity was due to a lack of marketing resources and knowledge rather than any fault of the design.

A new design conceived from the start to maximize the use of the Fold-a-Plane technique and reduce build and finish time, perhaps with a flat-wrap windscreen and more straight lines to emphasize simplicity, would be very appealing. Maybe a fuselage and cockpit more like a Gardan Minicab but with the Vison's raked rudder, constant-chord wing/tail, and tricycle gear.

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cluttonfred

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Hehe, no intention to mess with the Minicab, rather to apply a little Minicab magic to another design. That forward-hinged flat-wrap windscreen and a couple of optional fixed side windows is the slickest way I know to do a clean and simple canopy. In the context of the Fold-a-Plane discussion, the fuselage would become a simple three-sided tapered box with a straight conical turtledeck either integrated or added as a separate (perhaps removable for access) part. Easy-peasy.

PS--I am now in West Africa and it's fun to see the "overnight response" crowd from NZ and Oz respond immediately to my posts. ;-)

There would be a lot of turning in graves if you messed with the lines of a Minicab.
 

BJC

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As I understand it, Steve Rahm's Fold-a-Plane concept involved planning a composite design as a series of flat panels and radiused corners with the interior of the corners left as bare foam (possibly scored?) for the builder to finish with strips of cloth and resin once bent to the final shape
The concept was that the radiused corners were absent the foam as shipped.
The Vision (now sold by Pro Composites) is about the only composite design that I would consider tackling and I think it's lack of popularity was due to a lack of marketing resources and knowledge rather than any fault of the design.
I really like the Vision design, but it is extremely labor-intensive to build.

Our HBA Vision builder is no longer active here.


BJC
 

Lendo

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The fold a plane concept is still alive and well with the Vision, and this method could be applied to most any small aircraft I should image. Interestingly the 3 brothers building the Carbon Dark Aero do things similarly by creating longitudinal sections, that just need to joined at the edges, in a jig of some sort. With the fold a plane concept, which is made flat, the edges are left as a single skin and finished when folded and held in a cradle. Either systems have their advantages and disadvantages, but both have the advantage of keeping the work flat for ease of preforming sections.
George
 
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