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The Freedom S.40 Fuselage Manufacturing Demonstrator (FMD) test article just after its initial shape has been defined.

Spectrum produces first Freedom S.40 fuselage

As part of the ongoing development program of the S.40 Freedom mid-size jet, Spectrum Aeronautical announced today that the first of a series of Fuselage Manufacturing Demonstrator (FMD) test articles has been completed. The FMDs will be used to validate the production process for the aircraft's all-composite one-piece co-cured fuselage.

"This is a real milestone for the program," noted Spectrum's president, Austin Blue, "Our approach at Spectrum is to work diligently on technical development of our aircraft and maintaining our focus on getting them into production. Completion of a full scale part like this is the result of comprehensive tooling and process development that is taking us ever closer to our first flight test aircraft and delivery to our customers."

Due to the proprietary nature of the manufacturing process the company could not release any technical details, but Blue did say however, that this first FMD was in line with engineering projections and clearly shows the effectiveness of the methods. "We've developed our manufacturing technologies over years of research and testing. This represents a new stage in their maturity," said Blue. He added that, "The FMD is a testament to the ingenuity, hard work, and skill of a great development team."

The key feature of the Freedom's airframe is the use of large, co-cured composite structures. Co-curing the major structural elements joins the components at the molecular level, providing exceptional strength and durability. As a result, the adhesive bonding required by many other types of composite fabrication methods is significantly reduced. Composite co-cured structures also eliminate the need for extensive riveting that is required for conventional aluminum airframes, saving both manufacturing time and reducing overall weight.

"Limiting the amount of bonding and eliminating virtually all secondary fasteners allows us to build a lighter, higher performing aircraft," Blue explained. The light weight also contributes to better fuel efficiency, allowing the S.40 to cut fuel consumption by as much as half that of comparably sized metal aircraft. The reduction in fuel use also makes the aircraft one of the "greenest" jet designs by significantly cutting back the amount of emissions.

"This is a very exciting time for us," said Blue. "We are at the forefront of technical innovation that will change business aviation."

Spectrum Aeronautical has sales and administrative offices in Carlsbad, California, with its Aircraft Development Center located in Spanish Fork, Utah. The privately held company is developing two jets: the Freedom S.40, a nine-place mid-sized jet powered by GE Honda Aero Engines' HF120 fanjets; and the Independence S.33, a seven-place light jet using Williams International's FJ33-4A jet engines.

Both aircraft feature the company's revolutionary composite airframe technology, enabling an empty weight 40% less than comparably sized aluminum aircraft. The light weight combined with efficient next-generation fanjet engines allows significant reduction in fuel consumption and emission of green-house gasses. To follow the program's progress, or to download product photos visit: www.spectrum.aero.

Press release issued by Spectrum Aeronautical LLC on June 12, 2009

 

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Spectrum Aeronautical LLC Airframer

 

 Related aircraft programs:
Spectrum S-40 Freedom

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