National Aerospace Laboratories Saras, Bangalore, India, March 6, 2009–The number-two prototype of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered Saras crashed on its 49th test flight, killing three test pilots. The Indian National Aerospace Laboratories expects to certify the 14-seat Saras next year.
Bombardier’s CRJ1000 prototype took to the air for the first time early last month, marking the successful start of a flight-test regime expected to last until the fourth quarter of next year. Test pilots Jacques Thibaudeau and Chuck Ellis and flight test engineer Eugene Lardizabal took off at 10:02 a.m. EDT and flew CRJ1000 S/N 19991 for three hours and 25 minutes.
Bombardier’s sole CRJ1000 prototype took to the air for the first time today, marking the successful start of a flight-test regime expected to last until the fourth quarter of next year. Test pilots Jacques Thibaudeau and Chuck Ellis and flight-test engineer Eugene Lardizabal took off at 10:02 a.m. EDT and flew CRJ1000 S/N 19991 for three hours and 25 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of 30,000 feet and a maximum speed of 260 knots.
The number-two SJ30-2 flight-test aircraft (S/N 003) took off on July 21 from Sino Swearingen’s headquarters at San Antonio Airport. It was the first time the light business jet had flown since the April 26 accident that destroyed the number-one test airplane (S/N 002) and claimed the life of test pilot Carroll Beeler.
More than 50 years ago, the English Channel coastline near Selsey Bill was the location of two record-setting flights, and now this south coast of England area, more than 40 miles from Farnborough International’s flying display, is the designated destination for pilots faced with what the organizers term a “pre-meditated ejection.”
When Lockheed Martin chose a test pilot to take the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) version through development and into the air, the company realized there is no substitute for experience. Therefore, when aircraft F-35BF-1 took to the skies over Texas last month, a 58-year-old British pilot was at the controls.
Piper Aircraft today said that the PiperJet proof of concept’s Williams FJ44-3AP engine was started and tested on June 19, describing the first on-ship run and subsequent operational tests as “flawless.” After the initial engine starts and operational checks were completed, the single-engine PiperJet moved forward under its own power for the first time.
Sino Swearingen president and CEO Jack Braly made his first flight in the conforming prototype SJ30-2 in early September from San Antonio International Airport. Braly, who had previously flown the preproduction SJ30-2 before it was retired two years ago, is an accomplished pilot with extensive flight time in Beechjets. He flew the airplane accompanied by Sino Swearingen test pilot Carroll Beeler.
Cessna flew the first prototype CitationJet CJ4 on May 5, with senior engineering test pilot Dan Morris at the controls and engineering flight-test manager Dave Bonifield flying as copilot. During the two-hour, 22-minute flight, Morris and Bonifield conducted stability, control and initial systems evaluations and climbed to 16,000 feet. For more details on the CJ4 first flight, see story on page 3.
Sean Roberts, an experimental test pilot for both military and civilian projects with more than 18,000 flight hours, started the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in 1980 after receiving requests from the aircraft industry for a school that would address FAA certification requirements.