AW609 mock-up for Leonardo

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Is it possible to make a part of an aircraft in full scale? How much time? How much does it cost? But above all how to do it?

This was the great challenge that we took up with this project: the creation of 1: 1 mockups of the nacelle and wings of the AW609 convertiplane on display in the Italy pavilion – Expo 2020 Dubai

These are the dimensions of the Propellers model: 3.40m x 0.5m – Wing : 2.1m x 1.5m x 0.6m – Body strong>: 4m x 1,5m x 1m

We initially performed the feasibility study in order to identify technologies and materials suitable for the project;

After the start we started with the design of the executive files, production and assembly including packaging suitable for ocean freight. The model was tested in our workshop in mid-May 2021 and shipped by sea to Expo Dubai, Italy Pavilion a few days later.

With over 1000 hours of work we have achieved the goal , a large part of our internal staff and a network of external partners have worked constantly to comply with all the project specifications within the agreed time and with great satisfaction of the entire Leonardo team.

First step: Feasibility study

The creation of complex mockups, large or small, is always a very stimulating challenge.

We would like to clarify that the term “complex” for us is not synonymous with difficult. We refer to the use of skills, experiences, technologies of a different nature. In these cases, the good knowledge of materials and processes, the experience and validity of the team make projects of this magnitude possible.

And this is the challenge we have taken up again this time. We carefully analyzed Leonardo’s request, shared the specifications with our entire design and production department, defined all the steps of the executive project to arrive at defining a feasibility study and a commercial proposal.

Through the feasibility study we define the roles of each individual team member, the materials, the technological processes to be used, the development times for each individual processing phase, and any information necessary for managing the order.

In this initial phase, a draft of the possible design and production solution was defined in line with the specific requests.

Second step: project definition, design and planning of executive files

At the start of the work Leonardo gave us the mathematics in .stl format of the nacelle and helix.

We then defined the production processes and the materials with which we will have made the model.

The solution we defined involved the production of the mockup in 3 blocks:

  1. Wing fixed on the pole;
  2. Motor body fixed on the wing;
  3. Propellers fixed on the motor body;

This structure had to be anchored and kept suspended from a pole in the exhibition floor.

From the received files we started the reconstruction of the surfaces to define the shape of the model. Our engineering department has studied and designed the entire internal structure of the mockup to allow its realization, assembly and support.

At the same time, different aesthetic proposals were shared with the customer to choose the aesthetic finishes of the body and wings.

Initially, an opening area was provided to make the internal engine visible, following the first revision we defined the following specifications:

  • With the exception of the blades, all the other parts must had a smooth finish and painted in matt black RAL 9011;
  • Achieve a very high level of finish and detail definition by avoiding screws or visible assembly material. The surfaces had to be uniform in every area of the model; the imperceptible seams;
  • All the anchoring areas to the support pole had to be made aesthetic or covered with special carters;
  • The opaque black covers of the nacelle and wings had to be perfectly smooth, without reproductions of screws and rivets;
  • The propeller had to be pear-colored with a matte finish;

Third step: start of work and creation of the mockup

Given the scope of the project, the periodic reviews on site and the final testing, we have reserved an area of our production area for the realization of the nacelle.

The specifications provided that the model had to be anchored on a pole and be exposed to a height of about 6 meters.

We have designed a metal lattice structure connected to the pole, which crosses the wing part and is fixed in the central body of the nacelle.

The pole was installed inside to simulate all assembly and disassembly operations.

The internal structure of the nacelle is in okumè multilayer on this were applied 3d printing panles in recyclable PLA.

All panels were assembled on the central body and surface finishing operations started.

The propellers were made by direct milling of poplar multilayer with a 4mm core of okumè, emptied inside to reduce their weight and then treated with an impregnating varnish and pear-colored finish.

There are also 2 safety steel tie rods fixed to the structure of the nacelle body.

In addition to all the Coesum staff, we thank:

The Masters Francesco Carullo, Toni and Franco Miccoli – for woodworking, treatments and finishes

Pasquale Carafa for the painting of the wing and the nacelle body;

Giovanni Di Biase for the treatment and finishing of the propellers, with the support of Renner Italia which provided advice and painting materials;

Their support was essential for the success of the entire project.

Their support was essential for the success of the entire project.

In addition to the creation of the model, the project specifications also included other fundamental elements for the management of transport, assembly operations and safety.

For this purpose we have followed:

  1. Design and construction of support structures with relative wooden cases for transport by ship. The packaging has been designed to facilitate on-site assembly operations: all the material necessary for assembly has been inserted in each box;
  2. Manual drafting and assembly instructions;
  3. Drafting of FEM structural calculation to guarantee the tightness of the structure.

Honored to be present at Expo 2020 Dubai .

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