SGL Carbon to produce carbon fiber composite air taxi landing gear
Design for air taxi landing skids developed with carbon fiber composites. Source | SGL Carbon
SGL Carbon (Weisbaden, Germany) reported on Jan. 20 that it will begin serial production of air taxi landing gear made from braided carbon fiber material early next year. The landing skids will be installed in around 500 air taxis worldwide over the next two years, the company says.
The 2-meter-wide by 1.5-meter-wide ultra-light landing skids will weigh less than 3 kilograms, making them about 15% lighter than a similar component made from aluminum. SGL Carbon says lightweighting is particularly important for increasing potential flight time capacity of the electric motor-powered air taxis.
The landing gear was developed in collaboration with customer experts and specialists from SGL Carbon. The carbon fibers for the component are produced at the SGL Carbon plant in Muir of Ord, Scotland. The final part is being manufactured at the SGL Carbon site in Innkreis, Austria.
“With with our landing gear, we help to shape this very new, promising application of manned, autonomous civil aviation. This involvement also demonstrates our wide range of services. From engineering, to prototype manufacture, to serial production with our own materials — all of our competences along the entire value chain made a contribution to the project,” says Dr. Andreas Erber, head of the aerospace segment of the Composites — Fibers & Materials business unit at SGL Carbon.
Aircraft and autos have indeed faced CFRP production woes, but new tech opens door for both.
The company is having discussions with charter services about using its Sun Flyer 4 aircraft to provide on-demand air taxi service.
Columnist Dale Brosius reflects on the current state of the under-development urban air mobility (UAM) market, where it’s headed, and what it all means for the composites industry.