Different parts of the hemp plant have been used for centuries to create many different types of products with a plethora of uses, including consumer textiles, medicine, building materials, bio-fuel, paper, food, and more recently even batteries. Whats next…Airplanes? Absolutely!
A Florida based airplane manufacturing company, Velocity Inc., has contracted to fund $500,000 for the development of what is sure to revolutionize the aviation industry.
The Canada based company, Hempearth, founded by restaurateur Derek Kesek, has developed plans for the world’s first airplane made of hemp. Three quarters of the material used to construct this four-seater personal jet will be made from hemp material. It will even be powered completely by hemp bio-fuel, and it is expected to take to the air for a test flight early next year. With truly historical significance, Hempearth announced through Facebook that the plane’s maiden voyage will be launched from the world’s first ever aviation site within Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Before beginning construction, the Hempearth team has done ample testing to ensure the strength and durability of the hemp material to be certain it is best suited for flight. To do so, they constructed identical planks, some made from fiber glass and some from hemp material. The team then tested different breaking points on the identical planks. As predicted, they found that the hemp planks were equally as durable or even stronger than the fiber glass.
Kesek told The Star that the aspect of the hemp plane that he is most excited about, is the impact it may have on the environment. He explained,
“Hemp is a sustainable crop that needs no pesticides or herbicides to grow, so the plane would have a carbon footprint significantly smaller than that of standard planes.”
The featured image at the top and the photographs below show regular fiber glass planes from which the hemp plane design will be modeled.