Part of an R&D program begun in the Spring of 2000 which called for optimizing cost, weight and structural performance, the wing flap is engineered with braided reinforcements from A&P Technology and resin transfer molding (RTM) instead of prepreg. This combination reduces manufacturing costs dramatically, while increasing fatigue and performance properties of the composite part.
Novel tooling concepts designed by Radius Engineering combined with A&P braided sleevings allow for a more unitized approach to building. The predictable fiber architecture of the braided sleevings, which are easily placed over internal mandrels to create the internal structure of the flap, provides a thin wall laminate with superior strength and little clean up work. In addition, the combination of braid and RTM offers a 90% part count reduction over the original aluminum flap. This translates into substantial cost savings, while achieving a weight matching the latest lighter generation of the aluminum design.