F1 Kestrel Finally Stretches Its Wings
On Saturday afternoon, Farnborough Aircraft’s F1 Kestrel prototype (N352F) lifted off the runway at Bend Airport, Ore., for its maiden flight. The milestone marks the completion of nearly five years of design and development since the newly formed Farnborough Aircraft Corp. Ltd. (FACL) began work on the all-composite, turboprop single. “This is a fantastic achievement,” said FACL chairman and CEO Geoffrey Galley. “Despite many obstacles encountered throughout the history of the project, the team has delivered a remarkable and unique aircraft…our first flight is a major milestone on the road to a fully certified aircraft.” According to the company, the Kestrel prototype will complete an initial test flight campaign in Bend this month before flying to FACL’s base in the UK. The aircraft will then continue to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to begin a two-week promotional tour in the Gulf area. Following the initial flight-testing phase, Farnborough Aircraft will work with UAE-based manufacturing partner Gamco to gain EASA and FAA certification of the F1 Kestrel, which is expected in 2008. FACL says the 352-knot turboprop will be able to carry six passengers while operating from short landing strips.