Belite Aircraft conducts stress test on carbon fiber wing

The 14-lb/6.4-kg carbon fiber wings on the kit plane withstand more than 1,100 lb/500 kg of force in static testing.

Belite Aircraft (Wichita, Kan., USA) has announced the completion of a series of tests that statically demonstrate the structural integrity and durability of the aircraft’s carbon fiber wing under loads of up to 4G. Conducted at the firm’s Wichita 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/-1.5G in static testing. In fact, the wing, which weighs less than 14 lb/6.4 kg, exceeded the stated limits, remaining intact under a 4G load of 1,134 lb/514 kg.

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 percent 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 lb [6.4 kg]. We then loaded more than 1,100 lb [499 kg] 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 1,134 lb [514 kg]. At this point, the deflection at the tip was measured at 2.5 inches [63.5 mm]. 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.

Belite is offering the Belite 254 Classic aircraft and the carbon fiber version of the airplane, the Belite 254, in kit or assembled form.