Dassault-designed carbonfibre-foam honeycomb structure ready to be fitted with windshield and bulkheads

An 80%-scale composite Dassault Falcon business jet fuselage section was transferred to a Toulouse rig on 1 July for static, fatigue and birdstrike testing.

The composite is a carbonfibre/honeycomb structure with foam and carbonfibre reinforcing insets. Once the 4.5m (14.8ft)-long, 2m-diameter fuselage reaches the CEA aeronautical test centre in Toulouse it will be fitted with a windshield and bulkheads.

The Dassault-designed fuselage was produced by BAE Systems in Samlesbury, England, using a collapsible mandrel and fibre-placement process. This involves strips of fibre being placed on a mould.

Made under the European Union Fifth Framework Full Barrel Composite project, it was due to be finished in February.

“Some areas were more troublesome than others. There has also been a high level of integration,” says Simon Baxter, one of the project’s senior development engineers, based at BAE’s air systems department.

The project’s partners will not be producing another fuselage together, but the existing fuselage could be used for acoustic testing for another EU project called Face.

The project is now scheduled to be completed in April 2006. The follow-on work will not receive European Commission matching funds.


Source: Flight International