The company is currently performing structural testing on industrial hemp with the hopes of replacing fiberglass with plant-based composites made up of hemp and plastics. Hemp, which is naturally flame retardant, will be used in several components, including the wings, outer shell, and seats. The greener, light-weighted aircraft could also use hemp-based biofuel if approval by aviation regulators is achieved in time.
“This plane project is just our first experiment with industrial hemp, and we plan to explore many uses,” Hempearth Group CEO Derek Kesek tells The Marijuana Times. “Once we establish structural testing and information from the hemp project, we will take that and work on the next best implication. The sky may not be the limit.”
The plane will be designed and built by small-plane maker Velocity Inc., which did some of its own testing on the material’s strength and durability before agreeing to the build. Wingspan is expected to be 36-feet.
Hempearth hopes to hold the plane’s inaugural flight in Kitty Hawk, Virginia in 2018.