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Belite Aircraft conducts stress tests on carbon fiber wing

Belite Aircraft has completed a series of tests which statically demonstrated the structural integrity and durability of the aircraft's carbon fiber wing under loads of up to 4Gs. Conducted at the firm's Wichita, Kansas facilities, the tests subjected a carbon fiber wing to progressively increasing G loads to verify that the carbon fiber wing exceeded the stated specifications of +3.8/-1.5Gs in static testing. In fact, the wing, which weighs less than 14 pounds, exceeded the stated limits, remaining intact under a 4g load of 1134 pounds.

James Wiebe, CEO of Belite, directed the test program and noted that, "We wanted to demonstrate the strength carbon fiber can provide at light weights. It does not behave like any metal. When highly stressed, metal will begin to deform while still providing strength. Carbon fiber, on the other hand, will take loads nearly to 100% of strength without permanent deformation.

"We began the testing by conducting a negative G test, placing a 2G load on the wing of our Belite 254. We proceeded to conduct a positive G test by attaching the wings to another fuselage, inverting it. Under a load of 3Gs we noted delamination of specific ribs under compressive load, from the bottom of the rib through to the top of the rib. The Carbon Fiber spars were undamaged. Consequently we revised the rib design. After changes, the wing still weighed less than 14 pounds.

"We then loaded more than 1100 pounds onto the inverted wing panel, which was then supported by sawhorses. In fact, one of the sawhorse support points failed…but the wing remained intact.

"After reconfiguration of the test supports, testing was continued. The wing was loaded again, up to 1134 pounds. At this point, the deflection at the tip was measured at 2.5 inches. I think this testing more than verifies that the carbon fiber construction is not only significantly lighter, but can withstand the loads experienced in flight," Wiebe concluded.

Press release issued by Belite Aircraft on August 18, 2009


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