Usually, our team is kept busy with R&D, production, logistics, customer support and marketing topics. Seeking a once-in-a-lifetime challenge and a way to put their engineering superpowers to work, a small crew from our engineering and prototyping crew set out to take to the air – relying on our ampliTex™ lightweighting solutions.
Taking natural fibre composites into the air
Five brave colleagues signed up for the Red Bull Flugtag 2021 in Lausanne. Investing most of their free time over the last months, they have combined their composite technology and engineering expertise to design and build a brilliant (looking) craft. Their plane marks the world premiere of our ampliTex™ natural fibre composites getting airborne at a Red Bull Flugtag. Countless hours were invested, running simulations of the design, building the lightweight, natural fibre reinforced main structure, assembling the whole craft, and finally making the greatest costumes.
Aiming for a new Swiss Record
The ambitious goal of the team was nothing less than beating the Swiss record on 19 September in front of Bellerive – Plage in Lausanne. Rumour has it that they were even aiming for a full crossing of the Lac Léman with their wacky glider. The technical ampliTex™ flax fabrics were used to reinforce the plane’s main structure, making the most of the lightweighting performance of this natural fibre composite material. Even the proud pilot has invested significant effort into lightweighting but in the form of running a few ultra mountain marathons…
The whole Bcomp team has been enthusiastically watching the progress and many have taken the opportunity to lend a helping hand in the workshop and support the Flugtag team in their efforts. This has been a very welcome chance for everyone to work hands-on with our natural fibre materials and spend some time in our own composite workshop. Working on this challenge together has definitely brought team members from various departments closer together and helped build stronger connections in the whole team.
Despite rough weather conditions, the Wacky Gliders scored the longest flight of the day and an impressive 9-9-9-9 creativity score, resulting in a solid victory for the team – warm congratulations!
Not only did the plane secure the flight but proved surprisingly sturdy despite the low weight: “I’m super happy how well the plane held up. It came out the water in one piece. think it was quite overbuilt despite the light weight!” says Reto, team captain.
The proud pilot JB comments: “It went pretty fast but the sensations were intense!” (we believe you!) He continues: “It was an amazing team experience. Each member of our team was able to contribute to the building phase differently, and this is probably why we were able to score lots of points, both in the performance and artistic categories. And finally, all of this couldn’t have happened without the help of our fantastic Bcomp colleagues ! We didn’t beat the record, but it’s only a matter of time “
Image credits to Gabriel Roggo and Red Bull Switzerland / Romina Amato & Dean Treml.