Flight testing of the 1,800-nm G160 Ranger, which first flew last March, continues at Grob-Werke’s aviation facility in Tussenhausen, Germany. If all testing goes as planned, the seven-seat turboprop single will receive FAA/EASA certification in the third quarter.
The Bell 429 can hover out of ground effect (OGE) at 11,000 feet at its maximum takeoff weight of 7,000 pounds. The altitude exceeds Bell’s previous customer commitment of a maximum OGE hover of 9,300 feet.
With the Raytheon Hawker Horizon and Bombardier Continental making their first flights within three days of each other in Wichita last month, development is virtually neck and neck for these two highly competitive super-midsize business jets.
The first Lockheed Martin (LM) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has now been grounded for more than six months. But program officials hope to get the world’s largest combat aircraft program airborne again by the end of this month. “We have a very aggressive flight test schedule to get everything done by October 2012,” Bill Coutts, LM’s F-35 site director, told AIN at Fort Worth recently.
Diamond’s second single-engine D-Jet made its first flight on September 14 in London, Ontario. This D-Jet incorporates aerodynamic improvements derived from flight testing of the first D-Jet and is also production-conforming. Three more D-Jets in the final configuration are under construction, and certification flight testing should begin shortly.
Certification of the 3,100-nm super-midsize Challenger 300 was scheduled for the first quarter of this year, but Bombardier said last month that this approval would not happen until the second quarter. At press time, four flight-test Challenger 300s had logged more than 1,640 hours during 759 flights. The flight-test program is being conducted at Bombardier’s Wichita Flight Test Center.
Bombardier was planning to fly the Global 5000 for the first time late last month from its Toronto Downsview facility before ferrying the new long-range jet to the airframer’s Wichita Flight Test Center. The first of the two aircraft destined for flight test is seen here in a recent photo undergoing preparations for its maiden flight; the second aircraft is scheduled to fly later this month.
The Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 that crashed on April 26 was not equipped with a spin recovery chute, nor was it required to be. In addition, to date there are no reports that use of such a chute would have changed the outcome of the accident, in which the pilot was killed. The FAA requires chutes on aircraft during some certification flight tests, but the accident occurred during a company flight test.
Eurocopter is making further strides toward its aim of certifying a helicopter to make IFR approaches to a hover, over a given point on the ground and at a defined height. By the end of this month, a second phase of flight tests involving a specially modified EC 155, currently under way near the OEM’s Marseille headquarters in southern France, will be complete.
The fifth and final prototype Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin transport helo, this one incorporating customer-inspired design changes and a new Rockwell Collins glass cockpit, made its first flight October 5 at Sikorsky Aircraft’s flight-test field in Stratford, Conn.