...And New Technology Trickles Down
Boeing also is hard at work on its new 787 Dreamliner, which takes composite construction to new lengths for airliners. And following that lead, upstart Spectrum unveiled its all-composite bizjet project at NBAA's big shindig last week in Orlando (if you missed our BizAvFlash coverage on Friday, check it out online...complete with exclusive interviews). The company, headed by ex-Beechcraft honcho Linden Blue, already has secretly constructed a prototype of its Model 33, and expects to be flying by the end of this year. The entire airframe, the control surfaces and even the rods that connect the sidestick controller to the ailerons are all constructed entirely of advanced new proprietary composite materials, the company says. Spectrum is using a proprietary composite material branded as FibeX, a carbon-fiber/epoxy laminate that, similar to the material used in the 787, features "grid stiffening" rather than the honeycomb core stiffening common in most aircraft composite materials. The result is a light, simple, strong and durable airframe manufactured to precise tolerances, according to the company's Web site. The lightweight construction means the Spectrum 33 will complete a typical 1,000-mile flight using 40 to 50 percent less fuel than its nearest competitor, the company says.