GKN Aerospace’s thermoplastic components flight tested on Bell V-280 Valor

Bell V-280 Valor ©GKN Aerospace

GKN Aerospace has delivered a pair of thermoplastic composite, induction-welded Ruddervators and two compression-molded Access Panels manufactured from reused thermoplastic waste material to Bell in June 2019. The newly installed components have now flown more than 12 hours on V-280 test flights, including during the recently completed autonomous flight testing.

The Bell test pilots were happy with the seamless integration of the newly installed parts, noting that the V-280 continued to exhibit excellent responsiveness through test maneuvers. This has made the V-280, which recently celebrated completion of its second full year of flight tests, one of the first military aircraft flying successfully with thermoplastic components.

Ruddervators are the control surfaces for an aircraft with a V-tail configuration. As a partner in Bell’s Team Valor, GKN Aerospace has designed and manufactured the complete thermoset composite V-Tail for the aircraft. The Bell V-280 Valor is competing for selection as the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). The advanced thermoplastic Ruddervators significantly reduce weight, cost and parts count.

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