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Airtech

Liberty Aerospace Puts Composites to the Test

07 August 2006

Liberty Aerospace is assessing how long an aircraft will remain safe and flyable with by undertaking tests on parts of the composite fuselage of a Liberty XL2 that have been intentionally manufactured with defects.

The fuselage of the Liberty XL2 is constructed from carbon fibre and the welded tubular 4130 steel chassis takes the primary loads of the engine, nose gear, main gear and wing attachment. It also carries the control system assembly, fuel tank system and seat harness attachments.

During the test, the aircraft will be inspected every 1/10 of a lifetime for crack growth using NDI equipment. Significant crack growth will be measured and noted during each inspection. The Liberty tests at NIAR's Full-Scale Structural Testing Lab began in mid-July and will extend until the aircraft has sustained three simulated lifetimes (an equivalent of about 15,000 flight hours). Results from the test will be used to develop guidelines for Liberty XL2 maintenance manuals.

Liberty XL2 Test

The Full-Scale Structural Testing Lab also recently began structural fatigue tests on a Liberty XL2.






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