Skyfly Technologies has selected Norco Composites to build and manufacture the fuselage, wings and composite components of its Axe eVTOL aircraft, and with the order placed, the first aircraft is on course to be built by June 2023.
According to Skyfly, the company is aiming to achieve a complete airframe weight of just 220kg. The low weight structure is only achievable through the use of light weight composite structures which can retain the required crash proofing and structural strength needed. The aircraft fuselage consists of a main shell built in one piece with a nose and tail cone.
Michael Thompson, CEO at Skyfly, said: “We have been extremely impressed with Norco from our first initial contact to now running the project alongside them. It is refreshing to work with such a slick operation and knowing that we are in capable hands. The Norco team have years of experience to draw on which they have driven into the design for manufacture stages examining every detail prior to the aircraft being signed off.”
William Brooks, CTO at Skyfly, commented: “The Skyfly Axe eVTOL fuselage main shell is built in one piece using resin infusion, which provides low void content lightweight mouldings at low cost. A sandwich structure and unidirectional carbon is used to reinforce the skin. The skin in the cockpit area uses hybrid carbon/aramid which improves impact resistance. The internal structure includes a tunnel which provides torsional stiffness and frames which distribute point loads (e.g. from the undercarriage and flying surfaces) into the structure. I have had a personally positive experience with Norco some years ago, since then, their expertise and experience in lightweight composite aerostructures has developed greatly. We find them responsive especially in DFM (Design For Manufacture) resulting in a better product at less cost.”
Jason Hunt, Project Manager at Norco, added: “Norco are very excited to work with Skyfly in developing the Axe aircraft. UAM will see the largest growth in the civil aviation sector in the coming years, and its aircraft such as the Axe that will provide ground breaking capability. This aircraft will enable Norco to leverage on its skills and capabilities in the manufacture of advanced composite structures. Norco have been involved in a number of UAM platforms and see the relationship with Skyfly as a natural progression in the development and manufacture on eVTOL’s. Norco are a leading UK manufacturer of large composite structures, the company embraces the majority of composite processes from wet lay and resin infusion to high end pre-preg mouldings. Norco have made major investments in equipment and facilities over recent years, providing a ‘One Stop’ capability from tooling design and manufacture to paint finishing and assembly. Every project at Norco is supported by one of our engineering team, who ensure projects are manufactured to cost, quality and schedule.”