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Solvay has partnered with Italian urban air mobility company Novotech, supplying materials as well as technical support for a prototype hybrid water-landing aircraft.

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Seagull hybrid water-landing aircraft
Image: Novotech/Solvay

Solvay is partnering with Italian urban air mobility (UAM) company Novotech and will provide access to its range of thermoset, thermoplastic composite, and adhesive materials as well as technical support to develop the structure of the hybrid Seagull water-landing aircraft second prototype. It is scheduled to fly later this year.

“The Seagull is the first two-seater aircraft featuring carbon-fiber-composite components manufactured via Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) rather than manual processes. The introduction of such advanced automated production processes represents a first step toward the development of scalable products for a viable UAM environment,” said Leonardo Lecce, CEO of Novotech.

Novotech selected Solvay’s aerospace qualified and NCAMP-registered MTM 45-1 and CYCOM 5320-1 resin systems. These two products have an aerospace pedigree system with a large publicly available dataset, process flexibility, and product forms required to enable rapid adoption and time to market.

CYCOM 5320-1 is a toughened epoxy resin prepreg system designed for vacuum-bag-only (VBO) or out-of-autoclave (OOA) manufacturing of primary structural parts. MTM 45-1 is a flexible-curing-temperature, high-performance, toughened epoxy matrix system optimized for low-pressure, vacuum-bag processing. MTM 45-1 can also be autoclave cured.

The composite intensive Seagull is a hybrid aircraft, boasting an automatic folding wing system, capable of both landing and taking off from lakes and sea thanks to its trimaran hull configuration, thus enabling a low-cost air-maritime mobility system.

Novotech is already working on its next program — a fully electric eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. Solvay will be a key partner in the selection of suitable composite and adhesive materials. This next aircraft will be able to carry four passengers, have a cruise speed of 150 to 180 km/hr and a range of 200 to 400 km.

Urban Air Mobility is an emerging market that will revolutionize the transportation and aviation industry. These innovative platforms, hybrid or fully electric, will accelerate the transition to sustainable, on-demand passenger and cargo air transit.

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