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News Article

Halcón 2: The First Made-In-Mexico-Airplane in 70 years

By Sofía Garduño | Thu, 04/28/2022 - 17:14

After 70 years of not having an aircraft designed and produced in Mexico, Horizontec came to shift the country’s aeronautical history in 2014. The company has launched the Halcón 1 and is developing the Halcón 2, which will become its first commercial product. Innovative technologies and composite materials are some of the characteristics that make these aircraft unique. They also showcase the engineering capabilities of Mexican talent, while offering a light sports-quality aircraft.

 

“The Halcón 2 aims to address the needs of Mexican aviation by offering competitive advantages such as efficiency, low flight-hour costs, ergonomics and safety during flight. Besides, it is composed of quality materials and well-designed,” said Diego Sinhue, Governor of Guanajuato, during the inauguration of Horizontec’s new plant

 

Being a pioneer in the sector brough Horizontec several challenges. "It has been challenging to find trusted suppliers because they did not have our knowhow nor met our expectations. This forced Horizontec to build these capabilities," said Humberto Montaño Valdez, Operations Manager and Design Area, Horizontec.

 

The implementation of composite materials has not been easy. Although the use of carbon fiber makes aircraft lighter, few companies use it so the calculations to use it had to be developed by Horizontec’s engineers. This process require the development of a new software. "Horizontec has developed an engineering platform with the capacity to design and test structural and aerodynamic models for the accelerated construction of new prototypes," said Giovanni Angelucci, CEO, Horizontec.

Moreover, supplies were hard to find. At the beginning, the company struggled with finding suppliers of quality materials, leading the company to develop alternatives and bet on the diversification of its supplier base and look for alternatives of common materials. Horizontec also faced a gap between design and manufacturing that had to be reduced through efficient communication. It also struggled to find qualified professionals.

 

Despite the challenges, Horizontec succeeded in developing and certifying the Halcón 1 and is in line to certify the Halcón 2. Horizontec has allied with CONACyt to make this process a reality. The certifications involve the evaluation of the airplane’s design, production and maintenance, among other characteristics. However, Mexican regulations have gaps that make the certification process harder. For example, regulations force companies to show an import certification, which Horizontec cannot fulfill because it uses local supplies. "Certifying Horizontec's Halcón 1 and 2 may have been a tedious process, but their design, production and bilateral certifications provides international legitimacy for immediate export," said Edgar Martínez Ortega, Project Manager and Certification Area, Horizontec.

 

The production and certification of the Halcón 2 is only the beginning of Horizontec’s future plans. By the end of 2022, the brand expects to have produced about 50 aircraft and between 15 and 20 units during 2023. "Through the production of an efficient and cost-effective asset, we aim to democratize aviation," said Angelucci.

 

Horizontec aims to partner with aviation schools because its safety elements, such as the incorporated parachutes, could help to train future pilots. "Halcón's project model is an ideal asset for the more than 150 aviation schools working to train tomorrow's talent, given its safety measures for both the pilots and the prototype," said Angelucci.

 

Horizontec is boosting Guanajuato’s aerospace industry, which in 2020 exported US$5.8 million in aero parts, turbojets, turboprops and gas turbines. The company is also supporting Bajio’s cluster goals. Guanajuato has a strong automotive industry supported by certified companies with highly qualified human capital and well-established processes. Through companies like Horizontec and the work of clusters, the state’s aerospace industry can also position itself in global supply chains.

 

“Our goal as a cluster is to help those companies transition and begin manufacturing for the aerospace sector. Guanajuato’s companies are highly focused on developing technology. The cluster has been expanding its use of technology and embracing trends, such as machine learning, AI and big data, which has allowed us to identify unexplored market niches,” said Óscar Rodríguez, President Bajio Aerospace Cluster (BJXAerospace) to MBN.

 

After 70 years of not having an aircraft designed and produced in Mexico, Horizontec came to shift the country’s aeronautical history in 2014. The company has launched the Halcón 1 and is developing the Halcón 2, which will become its first commercial product. Innovative technologies and composite materials are some of the characteristics that make these aircraft unique. They also showcase the engineering capabilities of Mexican talent, while offering a light sports-quality aircraft.

 

“The Halcón 2 aims to address the needs of Mexican aviation by offering competitive advantages such as efficiency, low flight-hour costs, ergonomics and safety during flight. Besides, it is composed of quality materials and well-designed,” said Diego Sinhue, Governor of Guanajuato, during the inauguration of Horizontec’s new plant

 

Being a pioneer in the sector brough Horizontec several challenges. "It has been challenging to find trusted suppliers because they did not have our knowhow nor met our expectations. This forced Horizontec to build these capabilities," said Humberto Montaño Valdez, Operations Manager and Design Area, Horizontec.

 

The implementation of composite materials has not been easy. Although the use of carbon fiber makes aircraft lighter, few companies use it so the calculations to use it had to be developed by Horizontec’s engineers. This process require the development of a new software. "Horizontec has developed an engineering platform with the capacity to design and test structural and aerodynamic models for the accelerated construction of new prototypes," said Giovanni Angelucci, CEO, Horizontec.

Moreover, supplies were hard to find. At the beginning, the company struggled with finding suppliers of quality materials, leading the company to develop alternatives and bet on the diversification of its supplier base and look for alternatives of common materials. Horizontec also faced a gap between design and manufacturing that had to be reduced through efficient communication. It also struggled to find qualified professionals.

 

Despite the challenges, Horizontec succeeded in developing and certifying the Halcón 1 and is in line to certify the Halcón 2. Horizontec has allied with CONACyt to make this process a reality. The certifications involve the evaluation of the airplane’s design, production and maintenance, among other characteristics. However, Mexican regulations have gaps that make the certification process harder. For example, regulations force companies to show an import certification, which Horizontec cannot fulfill because it uses local supplies. "Certifying Horizontec's Halcón 1 and 2 may have been a tedious process, but their design, production and bilateral certifications provides international legitimacy for immediate export," said Edgar Martínez Ortega, Project Manager and Certification Area, Horizontec.

 

The production and certification of the Halcón 2 is only the beginning of Horizontec’s future plans. By the end of 2022, the brand expects to have produced about 50 aircraft and between 15 and 20 units during 2023. "Through the production of an efficient and cost-effective asset, we aim to democratize aviation," said Angelucci.

 

Horizontec aims to partner with aviation schools because its safety elements, such as the incorporated parachutes, could help to train future pilots. "Halcón's project model is an ideal asset for the more than 150 aviation schools working to train tomorrow's talent, given its safety measures for both the pilots and the prototype," said Angelucci.

 

Horizontec is boosting Guanajuato’s aerospace industry, which in 2020 exported US$5.8 million in aero parts, turbojets, turboprops and gas turbines. The company is also supporting Bajio’s cluster goals. Guanajuato has a strong automotive industry supported by certified companies with highly qualified human capital and well-established processes. Through companies like Horizontec and the work of clusters, the state’s aerospace industry can also position itself in global supply chains.

 

“Our goal as a cluster is to help those companies transition and begin manufacturing for the aerospace sector. Guanajuato’s companies are highly focused on developing technology. The cluster has been expanding its use of technology and embracing trends, such as machine learning, AI and big data, which has allowed us to identify unexplored market niches,” said Óscar Rodríguez, President Bajio Aerospace Cluster (BJXAerospace) to MBN.

 

 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MAF 2022 , MBN
Sofía Garduño Sofía Garduño Journalist & Industry Analyst