Hamilton AeroSpace

The “Experimental” category of aircraft manufacturing has grown significantly in the last few years. One of the primary reasons for the growth, is the reduction of liability on the airframe manufacturer if the majority of the assembly is accomplished by the owner. Companies provide kits for a variety of airplanes each having different combinations of materials, configurations and performance characteristics.

The conventional assembly process is, however, very complex and results in build-times extending into years.. The average time is probably four years, while many kits can surpass eight years of the normal, part-time construction. Many potential owners can not, and will not, invest that amount of time in an airplane that they want to fly today.

Factors contributing to long, drawn-out assemblies, are: types of materials used, high part counts, short periods of contiguous assembly time, lack of experience, lack of documentation, lack of adequate assembly space, tools and knowledgeable assistance.

The completed airplane, by the conventional assembly process, is as unique as the owner/builder. Unndetected, unintended assembly deficiencies can occur, since the airplane is the result of a learning curve.

The HX-322 is a very exciting design that allows for changes in the way things are done in manufacturing and assembly. The HX-322 is a two place tandem, forward canard, high performance, jet aircraft featuring a large, cranked arrow wing design. (A picture and short description were in AOPA’s (Aircraft Owners & Pilot’s Association) June 1997 addition. As can be seen, the aircraft has the appearance of a modern jet fighter.

This aircraft, nearing its final stage of construction, is being manufactured in San Antonio. The HX-322 has the following characteristics.

  The aircraft is totally constructed of glass skin, over a carbon fiber, load bearing structure, which allows extreme strength, lightness and maintain- ability.

  Advanced composite materials, combined with various manufacturing techniques, provide a low part count, reduce complexity and, thereby, substantially reduce assembly times. (The wing, for example, consists of only two pieces, the upper and lower halves. This is also true of the fuselage).

  All components, other than the composite airframe, are manufactured by major aircraft suppliers. These include such companies as U. P. S. Tech, Stec, Bendix- King, etc.

The assembly of the HX-322 is a radical departure from previous, home built adventures. Assembly does not, in fact, take place at the builder’s home or even home airport, but at a designated Assembly Center.

Assembly of the HX-322 is a managed process, occurring at well equipped Assembly Center. Jigs, built to exact specifications, for example, are available to the owner/assembler. (In the conventional home built process, jigs have to be constructed before the assembly can even begin).

Seven Assembly Centers are targeted for the United States. Each Assembly Center will have the necessary assembly equipment and personnel to assist the owner in totally assembling his aircraft, all within a contiguous two week period.

Assembly will be facilitated by a compliment of tools, jigs, and resident expertise all in a temperature controlled environment. Everything from aircraft mechanics to avionics technicians will be available to assist in the installation of the various subsystems. A large paint booth will also be available to personalize the completed aircraft

The full production schedules will begin after flight testing of the initial unit. The initial flight test is currently scheduled for early second quarter 2004. Full production could begin as early as third quarter 2004. Assembly will begin immediately upon receipt of the production units.

All assembly areas have been assigned, except for three areas: northeast coast and southeast coast of the United States, as well as the Rocky Mountains. The central U. S. has not been assigned.

Foreign assembly area.

Two assembly areas will be located in Europe. One assembly area for the South Pacific, and two assembly areas for South America. These assembly areas will go on the market as of January 1, 2002. All persons interested in acquiring the assembly area license for these areas are requested to present their proposals to Hamilton AeroSpace after January 1, 2003.

The first flight of the HX-322 will be a milestone for the experimental aircraft industry. This lightweight, high speed, all composite airframe, married to industry proven subsystems, will provide a “Businessman’s Concord”.

The assembly program is unique. It allows a consistent, controlled and professional approach to producing an aircraft having flight integrity within a short time-frame.


George D. Hamilton
P. O. Box 700494
San Antonio, Texas 78270
1-830-796-4568 Fax
E-mail: george@hamiltonaerospace.com