TABASCO research program focus is on low technologies and manufacturing processes for General Aviation (GA) airframe structures.
Small airline companies, pilot school, public companies a private users appreciate aerodynamic shapes and features of new composite aircrafts. But in this scenario new certification and operational problems arise due to composites, so that an analytic and experimental study is the unique approach needed to sustain and point out the effective role of low cost composite processing. Airworthiness and composite manufacturing cost impact can be very important starting from storage up to final inspection; in General Aviation market, the final customer usually assign specific requirements that can add further certification complexity, for example in case of specific electronic equipments, IRF requirements compliance need to be shown. Maintenance features are strictly linked to manufacturing and inspection processes to be studied in the present research program: thinking about corrosion features, composites can be theorically considered useful, but repair issues, thermal behavior and inspection features play a determining role in the commercial success of a composite aircraft. For this reason the study here performed is based on a concurrent engineering approach defining material characteristics, processing and inspection technologies to be set up in an iterative loop to support structural design form the beginning of aircraft development.
The program is referred to carbon fiber reinforced composites for main airframe structures, otherwise specifically indicated, considering fiberglass as support material for interfaces and secondary aerodynamic shape parts or system installation.