18 August 2016
A spectacular aerobatic aircraft, which passed airworthiness tests at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, is being put through its paces
A spectacular aerobatic aircraft, which passed airworthiness tests at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, is being put through its paces (week commencing Aug 22 2016) at the world’s largest recreational aviation, experimental aircraft and aeronautics airshow.
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 is taking 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 two-seater GB1was developed by Lincolnshire-based Game Composites and designed to carry out complex manoeuvres in aerobatic competitions or simply be flown for fun.
Although GB1 was designed and built in the UK, it looked as though it would have to undergo full airworthiness testing in the Czech Republic until Phil Spiers, who heads the AMRC’s Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC), became aware of the project.
He was determined that an aerobatic aircraft being built within 60 miles of the AMRC ought to be tested in the UK, and sure his team had the skills and experience to help Game get its aircraft approved as quickly as possible.
The Centre built a special test rig which allowed it to carry out damage tolerance and fatigue tests at an ultimate load 19 times that exerted by gravity at 72°C and simulate 20,000 hours of flying.
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 said: “It’s been a privilege to be involved in proving the safety, security and integrity of this aircraft and fantastic to see theGB1 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.”
Following European approval, production approval will be sought from the US Federal Aviation Authority and the GB1 is being offered for sale at $399,000 for a basic model.
About the AMRC Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC)
The ASTC provides a range of testing services for the AMRC, its partners, other research and testing organisations and manufacturers with challenging and novel testing requirements that cannot easily be met by commercial services. The ASTC is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and is the only structural test facility within a UK university to hold ‘in-house methods’ accreditation, which means it can develop new procedures, in collaboration with clients, to prove out components under real-world conditions, in addition to testing to established international test procedures. The ASTC’s capabilities span the complete range of testing requirements and include the skills to devise and advise on the correct testing strategies and procedures.
About the GB1 Game Bird
The GB1 has a carbon composite airframe, is 6.9 metres long, has a 7.7 metre wingspan and weighs only 585 kg when empty. It can cruise at more than 200 knots and has a range of 1,000 Nautical Miles on 320 litres of fuel, or can carry 95 litres for aerobatics.
The GB1 is designed to be used for unlimited aerobatics, training for all levels, as well as upset recovery training, flying cross country and for pure fun, with the inclusion of a front passenger seat expanding its potential market beyond hardcore aerobatic competition pilots.