Light Aircraft Canopies

Introduction

As most of the aviation parts and products are manufactured internationally, local manufacturers are dependent on a reliable supply chain. This has not been the case in the past, resulting in high risk that the production line is interrupted.

Additionally, the cost to import products is uneconomical and the use of local content is highly desirable. The development of the technology to produce complex canopies locally will further enhance our local aviation sector’s competitive edge.

One of the most useful properties of Plexiglas® acrylic sheet is its thermoformability. Being a thermoplastic, it becomes soft and pliable when heated and can then be formed to almost any desired shape. As the material cools, it stiffens and retains the shape to which it has been formed. The size, shape and optical requirements of the formed part generally govern the choice of forming method to be used.

By manufacturing these canopies locally, the local market is growing and also creates the opportunity to support other local aircraft manufacturers or maintenance organisations by supplying products that are easier to come by, more cost effective and locally produced. It also creates the opportunity to employ people to manufacture these products locally and hereby contributing to the local economy. This initiative gives the opportunity to broaden the local market and creates the possibility to establish a competitive edge in the international market.