Steve Ell

Al Thompson

Ryan Anderson

Bill Smrtic

A founding partner, Bill Smrtic brings not only pride of ownership to Blackhawk Composites but a strong determination to build the highest quality products possible, following his motto: “we will find a way.” His strong background in composites includes aerospace, wind energy, and the automotive industries.

Smrtic’s expertise with out-of-autoclave processing techniques helps Blackhawk offer a lower cost solution for customers’ complex requirements. His technical expertise extends into development and fabrication of high-quality composite tooling utilizing conventional laminating and VARTM techniques. He is also skilled in using FaroArm coordinate measurement equipment to inspect or reverse engineer your product.

Kaylah West

A founding partner of Blackhawk Composites, Kaylah West offers a mix of company knowledge, management, and hands-on composites experience, giving her a unique perspective to address specific customer needs. West’s strong product knowledge and a can-do attitude help her provide extraordinary customer support as she’s always available to answer a variety of customer questions.

Process

Customer-Focused

proven processes

YOUR DESIGN PARTNER

At Blackhawk Composites, we consider you our partner. When you come to us requesting solutions to boost your aircraft’s performance, strength, and payload, we partner with you every step of the way, from the first conversation through final FAA approval of your new part.

Our full-service capabilities allow us to perform all of the following, in-house:

Create full CAD for your part

Build the required tooling

Produce a rapid prototype

Refine designs

Fabricate your part in-house

Refine designs

Fabricate your part in-house

Perform finish work

Test the part

Assist with FAA, EASA, and other regulatory approvals

PARTNERING WITH BLACKHAWK

Producing Your Part

At the beginning of the process, Blackhawk Composites’ engineering team works with you on a successful design. Whether you’ve come with a problem you want solved, a napkin drawing, or a full set of designs, we’ll review your needs and prepare a proposal, complete with recommendations for the best way to achieve your goal on your budget and timeline. In many cases, it is not uncommon for us to go from a design idea to a complete solution in only a few weeks.

Once you approve your design and quote for production, a purchase order is created to begin work. Your team at Blackhawk Composites will manage all aspects of production, from design review, tooling, and prototype to fabricating, finishing, testing, and assisting with all required regulatory approvals.

CUSTOMER INTERFACE

Throughout your journey with Blackhawk Composites, you will have a dedicated project manager to support you and your project. Your project manager works with the Blackhawk team to ensure your project meets your quality expectations and is on schedule, all while providing you with daily updates on progress and estimated delivery. Your project manager will also oversee the production of your part, performing a number of tasks, including ensuring:

  • The cross functional team’s review at the RFQ stage assures capability, capacity, and understanding of your requirements
  • Develop prints and specs are produced to accompany your CAD
  • Pre-approved rework procedures for specified conformance issues are established and followed
  • Management of the NCR process
  • Management of the ECR process for part or process changes

Case Study

Composite Solutions for Improved Performance

When certifying an engine upgrade solution for the Cessna Caravan 208B, Blackhawk Performance Upgrades turned to Blackhawk Composites to engineer and manufacture a new composite cowling to accommodate the upgraded aircraft’s larger, more powerful engine and dual port exhaust. The improved cowling design significantly reduces installation losses and improves inlet efficiency.

In full production today, the cowling is part of a complete performance solution increasing Caravan capabilities and helping operators do more and earn more. This industry success story is a model for how innovative composite use can improve legacy products while meeting market needs.

PROJECT DETAILS


  • 54 individually molded components and 21 assemblies, adhesive bonded and mechanically fastened
  • The carbon/epoxy composite materials passed 16 different tests, using five samples each, for a total of 80 test conditions

CERTIFICATION TIMELINE

November 22nd 2010

FAA approval of BCI facility and PMA Quality System

January 18, 2011

FAA approval of first article components for the Blackhawk Modifications designed cowling for the modified Cessna Caravan 208B

April 13, 2011

FAA approval of first article of assemblies for the cowling

April 21, 2011

Cowling passed the static load testing exceeding structural design requirements

May 18, 2011

FAA approval of site equivalency test results for Toray T700S-12K material listed in the AGATE Database in accordance with FAA requirements 14 CFR Part 23 Section 23.613

June 22, 2011

Blackhawk Modifications receives Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA and approval of the type design change authorizing modification of the Cessna Caravan 208B

June 23, 2011

Blackhawk Modification delegation for Blackhawk Composites to produce 21 assemblies for the cowling used on the modified Cessna Caravan 208B

June 29, 2011

Quality manual approval to new FAA requirements of CFR 21.308

July 16, 2011

Delivery of the first engine cowling for the modified Cessna Caravan 208B aircraft

June 22, 2011

First flight of the modified Cessna Caravan 208B with a Blackhawk Composites engine cowling

July 1, 2011

Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) granted by the FAA Vandalia Office allowing Blackhawk Composites to manufacture carbon/epoxy composite components for the modification to the Cessna Caravan 208B

THE BLACKHAWK ADVANTAGE

Blackhawk Composites utilizes highly experienced composites engineers, technicians, and leadership with the latest techniques and technology to develop aerospace-grade composite parts and assemblies. Our full in-house services, centrally located for inexpensive shipment, offer considerable cost-savings and efficiency, while our open and transparent communication strengthens customer trust and confidence. Blackhawk Composites is your cost-effective, time-saving partner for performance enhancing solutions.

Capabilities

SUPERIOR COMPOSITE SERVICES

OUR CAPABILITIES

Our services range from helping you bring an idea from design all the way to final regulatory approvals, utilizing a variety of composites, metals, and other materials to deliver the ideal solution – on your timeline and budget.

WE’RE PROUD TO PROVIDE FULL IN-HOUSE COMPOSITE SERVICE

Blackhawk utilizes the most efficient techniques and equipment for your specific design and product. Our techniques include:

  • Autoclave Processing: A pressure vessel designed to maintain high pressures and temperatures, which together ensure proper fiber content and elimination of voids. We utilize our 5-foot diameter autoclave to cure parts requiring higher PSI than other methods allow.
  • Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer (VARTM) Molding: An open mold molding method utilizing a vacuum bag that applies vacuum to assist the continuous flow of low-pressure infused resin from one side of the mold to the other, ensuring the resin is void-free.
  • Out-of-Autoclave (OOA) Processing: Utilizing a closed mold, this process achieves the desired fiber content and elimination of voids by applying vacuum, pressure, and heat by means other than an autoclave. An economical alternative to autoclave processing for carbon fiber parts, our OOA methods include wet-lay and VARTM for fiberglass and carbon, and prepreg for fiberglass, carbon, Kevlar, and quartz.

At Blackhawk Composites, we work with you to modernize legacy aircraft, develop new products, and increase aircraft utility to help you gain a competitive edge. We are highly experienced with composites and metal, fabricating everything from a single part to a full assembly. Examples include:

  • Composite cowlings
  • Composite fairings
  • Composite storage lockers
  • Composite pods
  • Composite wing tips and winglets
  • Composite nose and tail cones
  • Composite flooring and wall panels
  • Composite spinners
  • Exterior composite panels with structural ribs built-in
  • Aluminum ribs

Blackhawk Composites supports aerospace, automotive, watercraft, and other industries with services including:

  • General aviation aircraft modifications
  • Business jet aircraft modifications
  • Helicopter modifications
  • Watercraft modifications
  • Drone complete builds
  • OEM assistance
  • PMA and STC assistance
  • Aftermarket automotive parts for racing
  • Simulator pods
  • Tooling design and creation for any industry

CAPABILITIES TO MEET YOUR NEEDS

We offer a robust selection of capabilities in-house, tailored to quickly and cost-effectively support your next aerospace product innovation.

Prototyping/Rapid Prototyping

Working with your budget and timeframe, we create early sample model prototypes built to test a concept. With many materials and equipment options in house, our engineers can take your napkin drawing to a CAD in hours while our technicians can produce your prototype in days.

Production Composite Tooling

While we have the capability to use, fix, and/or modify your tooling, we can also construct tooling from a variety of materials, including metal, aluminum, carbon, fiberglass, and foam.

Low-Cost Tooling

Our in-house tooling and tool production includes fixtures, jigs, and templates, all produced using a variety of low-cost materials to meet your budget.

JIGS

Utilizing primary and secondary tooling holes, clamps, and air tools, jigs designed by Blackhawk Composites are certified, calibrated, and repeatable.

TEMPLATES

We utilize design layout templates and laser ply placement to locate plies during the build process.

BUILD-TO-PRINT PRODUCTION

We partner with you to help produce your design, including providing engineering support to ensure your success. While we assist in design and drawing creation, all CAD is traceable back to you and you maintain all ownership and control.

REGULATORY APPROVALS

We compile the data to assist with FAA, EASA, and other regulatory approvals.

FINISHING

We offer a full suite of prime and paint finishing services, including finishing exposed carbon and Kevlar parts.

REVERSE ENGINEERING

Our engineering team analyzes a part using FaroArm with laser scanning equipment and then prepares full CAD packages for designing and/or machining a new part quickly. With the ability to remove splashes from old parts, we can quickly turn them into ready tools for new parts inexpensively.

THE BLACKHAWK ADVANTAGE

Blackhawk Composites utilizes highly experienced composites engineers, technicians, and leadership with the latest techniques and technology to develop aerospace-grade composite parts and assemblies. Our full in-house services, centrally located for inexpensive shipment, offer considerable cost-savings and efficiency, while our open and transparent communication strengthens customer trust and confidence. Blackhawk Composites is your cost-effective, time-saving partner for performance enhancing solutions.

Composites Overview

Composite Solutions

FULL-SERVICE CAPABILITIES TO SUPPORT PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT

Performance Enhancement

Blackhawk Composites is a comprehensive composite design and manufacturing facility focused on boosting aircraft performance and capabilities. Our services include design support, prototype creation, building, and certifying composite components. Composites are lighter, stronger, and more durable than standard aerospace and high performance industry materials, offering opportunities for increased performance, strength, and payload while reducing maintenance costs. At Blackhawk Composites, we deliver diverse solutions tailored to your needs while our fully in-house services and cost-saving techniques give you the competitive advantage. If it’s increased performance you seek, we can help.

AEROSPACE EXPERTISE

As commercial and military aircraft operators demand product upgrades, OEM and aftermarket providers are responding with innovative composite solutions to enhance legacy aircraft performance and efficiency. Blackhawk Composites is uniquely qualified to engineer, prototype, and produce complete composite solutions to meet exacting aerospace industry standards and requirements. We are one of just a few companies approved to utilize Toray carbon epoxy composite material, the same material used on commercial jetliners and favored by the FAA.

COMPOSITES FACILITY

Our Morgantown, Kentucky, composite engineering and manufacturing facility houses the state-of-the-art equipment required to manufacture, test, and certify your aerospace-quality composite solutions to rigorous specifications. Centrally located in a low-cost labor market, we’re dedicated to offering our customers a cost-effective advantage.

Boasting a 98% first pass yield and 100% on-time delivery, Blackhawk Composites today manufactures components for more than a dozen programs and has either led or partnered with customers to manufacture and certify more than 50 projects.

COMPOSITES EQUIPMENT

Aerospace-grade quality composite manufacturing begins with advanced tools designed for pinpoint accuracy through every phase to ensure exceptional end results. Blackhawk Composites invests in the latest technology, allowing us to manufacture your composite products in-house, giving you the cost-competitive advantage.

  • 5-foot x 20-foot autoclave with 85psi/400˚F maximum operating capacity
  • Laser placement system for laser ply placement
  • Clear coat specific paint booth for processing exposed carbon
  • Autometrics CNC Plycutter
  • Weld equipment
  • Rivet equipment for assembly
  • 38,510-square-foot manufacturing facility
  • Large walk-in 0˚ F material storage
  • Temperature and humidity controlled clean manufacturing area
  • 10-foot platinum FaroArm with laser scanner for dimension verification
  • Curing equipment with 500˚ F capability
  • Grinding booths
  • Paint booths

WHY BLACKHAWK COMPOSITES?

Blackhawk Composites offers a diverse set of complete in-house services, giving you the cost-effective advantage. Our lean, time-saving processes mean you could have your solution in as little as a couple of weeks, while our cost-saving methods help ensure your project stays on budget. Our capabilities also include DERs for certification approvals, which means our customers experience shortened lead times and reduced costs while utilizing the best products in the industry.

CERTIFICATIONS

With an exclusive focus on composite materials for aerospace, Blackhawk Composites is uniquely qualified to engineer, prototype, and produce complete composite solutions to meet rigorous aerospace industry standards and requirements.

Blackhawk Aerospace Composites Certifications:

  • FAA/PMA Approvals
  • FAA Composite Manufacturing Facility
  • NIAR Qualified Processes
  • AS9100D Certified (as Blackhawk Composites, Inc.)
  • ITAR Registered Compliant

EXPERIENCE THE BLACKHAWK DIFFERENCE

Contact us today to discuss how our full-service composites capabilities can help you gain a competitive advantage.