Marsh Brothers Aviation is supplying a range of elastomeric polymer bearings to the soon-to-launch high performance kit aircraft DarkAero1.

As part of collaborative partnership that dates back to 2018, Canada’s Marsh Brothers Aviation is designing and manufacturing composite bearings for three different applications aboard the novel aircraft, including landing gear.

Engineered specifically for high-speed, long-range flight, DarkAero 1 is a two-seater carbon-fibre, quick-build self-build aircraft optimized for efficient cross-country flight.

Nicholas Choo-Son, Director, Business Development, Marsh Brothers Aviation, said: Marsh Brothers Aviation is excited to be involved in this ground-breaking project, which is already generating considerable interest across the aviation sector.”

President and co-founder of Wisconsin-based DarkAero, Ryley Karl, said: “When we heard about Marsh Brothers’ materials, we ordered a batch to replace some bronze bearings that we had. There are now at least a dozen different bearings on the aircraft that are made from the company’s lightweight polymer materials.”

Marsh Brothers and Dark Aero anticipate increased growth in the use of composite materials in the manufacture if aircraft of all types and sizes.

“There are significant benefits to using self-lubricating polymer bearings,” said Choo-Son. “They are less complicated and costly to manufacture than traditional greased bearings, they are maintenance-free and do not require regular lubrication to maintain their function. This results in reduced lifecycle maintenance costs, improved reliability, and lower overall aircraft weight.”

Following completion of flight testing and the accompanying validation of engineering work later this year, DarkAero plans to commence kit production in early 2023 to supply pre-orders, of which there are currently more than 150.

DarkAero 1 retails for an initial target price of US$80,000 for the kit and between US$150,000 and US$120,000 fully built.


DarkAero plans to commence kit production in early 2023 to supply pre-orders, of which there are currently more than 150

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About Marsh Brothers Aviation

Marsh Brothers, a Thomson-Gordon Group company, designs, engineers and manufactures proprietary self-lubricating and grease-free polymer technologies to improve the performance, reliability and service costs for aircraft owners, manufacturers and maintainers. Marsh Brothers’ polymers replace traditional metal bearings, seals and washers reducing component weight by over 80% in comparison. Less weight equals more fuel savings. Typical application includes landing gear pneumatic struts (bearings, dynamic seals and piston wipers), landing gear structures (link bushings), hydraulic actuators (seals, glands, piston rod wipers), flight controls (hinge bushings, rollers), passenger and cargo door hinge bushings and rollers.