In the Works: Sino Swearingen SJ30-2

 - March 22, 2007, 6:31 AM

After more than 60 hours of high-speed flight testing at Mojave, Calif., last month, the Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 completed this important phase of testing. The tests covered 331 data points at three altitudes–18,000 feet, 28,000 feet and 41,000 feet. During dive testing from 45,000 feet to 41,000 feet, the airplane (S/N 004) reached a maximum airspeed of Mach 0.90, which was required to confirm the
SJ30-2’s Mmo of Mach 0.83). The tests were done with normal and aft c.g. configurations and with the yaw damper turned on and off.

Flying left seat was company project test pilot John Siemens. Engineering test pilots Tim Fitzgerald and Eric Kinney took the right seat on alternate flights. Said Siemens, “During the testing, handling was excellent and above Mach 0.86 high-speed buffet is very minor, stability and control are good and the airplane showed exemplary roll control at speeds up to Mach 0.90 above 28,300 feet, and at 372 knots indicated below 28,300 feet. I was very impressed, especially considering the fact that the SJ30-2 has such a highly swept wing and conventional tube and cable-actuated flight controls.”

A company official said FAA Part 23 certification of the Williams
FJ44-2A-powered light jet, which has been delayed several times in the past, is still planned for the third quarter of next year. Two FAA-conforming SJ30-2 airplanes are in flight testing, often seven days a week, said the official. S/N 003, the systems test aircraft, is used for pressurization, electrical, hydraulic and bleed air testing. S/N 004 is the aerodynamics and performance test aircraft. The company is seeking single-pilot certification.

Meanwhile, the NTSB has not yet released the final report of the April 26, 2003, fatal accident of the first SJ30-2 pre-production prototype (S/N 002) that killed company chief test pilot Carroll Beeler. S/N 002 crashed after entering an uncommanded right roll during flutter testing at Mach 0.884.