Hamilton AeroSpace

Over the years, aircraft design and development followed a well worn path. Not to anyone's surprise, major manufacturers incorporated the latest available materials into their designs. The difficulty with this approach, however, was that even when the aircraft came off the drawing board, it was obsolete. Newer materials could now allow more advanced designs. In order to have something flying, of course, the old design was built and a new cycle of design would begin.

In 1979, after studying for several years the works of Dr. Leo Windecker, Mr. George Hamilton founded Hamilton AeroSpace, and initiated a program that would eventually lead to the production of the first all composite tactical aircraft. In researching the Windecker Eagle, the first all-composite general aviation aircraft to receive FAA certification, Mr. Hamilton concluded that the true value for composites was in military aircraft. Developments benefiting military designs, however, could certainly be beneficial to the less demanding requirements of general aviation.

During the course of his research, Mr. Hamilton realized the potential of future composite materials in aircraft design. Hamilton now set upon a course of development, different from other designers. Hamilton AeroSpace began designing aircraft “anticipating” future advances in composite materials and engine design. The technique of “designing for the come”, probably resulted from his bird hunting experience. He knew if he wanted to hit the target, he had to lead it, and know that the desired interception, would take place.

Over the next several years, Hamilton Aerospace engaged in the development of composite design technology. Thousand of man hours were spent building parts and completing airframe assemblies. These parts and assemblies were subjected to all degrees of testing, including complete destructive failure testing. A significant data base was compiled on different laminates, resins, and core materials. This data base would be continually updated based on new material developments.

Having thoroughly researched composite materials, Hamilton AeroSpace was now ready to study the concepts of production that would benefit not only the military but, again, general aviation. The first focus was mass production. Could an aircraft be mass produced, so that costs could be spread over a greater number of units? Why did parts, for conventionally produced aircraft, have to be “custom tailored” at assembly time,? The second focus was design simplicity. How could the complexity of an aircraft be reduced for both military and general aviation designs? Could the same, or a similar airframe structure, with less costly materials, be used for less demanding general aviation designs?

Hamilton AeroSpace answered these questions by designing a complete product line. Each product being a subset of the most demanding design. All of the products having “quality” as the premier guideline. All subsystems (avionics, autopilot, landing gear,etc.), other than the composite airframe, would be supplied by proven reputable manufacturers. It was decided that none of the products would be announced until the total line was available for production.

With these goals in mind, Hamilton AeroSpace finalized the design, and began to develop tooling for, what is known as the A-II, “Avenger” tactical attack fighter. The design of this advanced aircraft introduces new concepts of production that greatly reduces the number of parts, thus lowering manufacturing costs. (The fuselage, for example, is cast in two sections, an upper and a lower) The exacting specifications of the tooling and the advanced composite materials, allows all parts to be interchangeable. This allows a wing section to be used on any fuselage section, without “custom fitting”. Wing sections, as well as other major subsections, are detachable for replacement, even under battlefield conditions. Keeping the aircraft in the air, is basic to the economics of the battlefield. Availability, the combination of reliability and maintainability, is inherent in the A-II.

The general aviation, Hamilton AeroSpace HX-322, is an outgrowth of the A-II design.


George D. Hamilton
1194 Wharton's Dock Road
E-mail: george@hamiltonaerospace.com