EADS Socata is to lead the French government-backed €9.2 million ($12.3 million) Fuselage Composite project. Using the Socata TBM 850 aircraft design as a basis, the research will focus on developing the vacuum infusion process for fuselage manufacture.

The process uses vacuum-induced pressure to inject liquid resin into dry fibre in a closed mould, and is an alternative to the pre-impregnated materials often used for composite structures. The government will pay €6.3 million, and industry will provide the rest.

"This will give us expertise in these technologies, which in the long term will allow us to produce even lighter aircraft structures more cost effectively," says chief executive Stephane Mayer. Socata is working with resin specialist Sicomin, composite materials developer Aerovac and Toulouse-area academic institutions.

Socata TBM 850 
© EADS Socata   
The Socata TBM 850 design will form the basis of fuselage research


Source: Flight International