Tuesday, August 23, 2016

News: GameBird takes flight

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A spectacular aerobatic aircraft, which passed airworthiness tests at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, has been put through its paces at the world's largest recreational aviation, experimental aircraft and aeronautics airshow.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

It houses an Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC) which provides state-of-the-art means, methods and skills to validate engineering materials, components, assemblies and full products.

Lincolnshire-based Game Composites utilised the centre when it needed testing for a new aerobatics aircraft. The company was founded with the aim of creating an easy handling two seater aircraft that would be recognised as the most fun to fly aircraft in the world.

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The GB1 GameBird was the first fixed wing, light aircraft to undergo a full airworthiness test in the UK for more than 30 years.

Now it has taken to the air in the skies above Wisconsin, in the USA, at the EAA AirVenture annual airshow, which is attended by more than 550,000 enthusiasts from 80 countries.

The first public display at Airventure in Oshkosh, WI, saw co-founder Philipp Steinbach take the controls. Philipp is a former German national freestyle aerobatic champion and aircraft designer.

Engineers at the ASTC designed a bespoke test rig to apply forces up to ten times those exerted by gravity, simulating the forces the aircraft will have to cope with as it carries out high speed manoeuvres.

Following the ASTC's work and further tests on seats, harnesses, the GB1's fuel tank and baggage compartment, the aircraft completed European Aviation Safety Agency flight tests ahead of its debut at the EAA AirVenture airshow.

Phil Spiers, head of the ASTC, said: "It's been a privilege to be involved in proving the safety, security and integrity of this aircraft and fantastic to see the GB1 up in the air.

"This is the first, fixed wing, independently designed and built light aircraft to be certified in the UK for 30 years. Now that we have re-established this country's capability to carry out the full range of airworthiness tests we hope other designers will chose to have their testing done here."

Game Composites website
AMRC website

Images: Game Composites / Jean-Marie Urlacher


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