Grob Aerospace has restarted the flight-test program for its SPn jet, just under three months after the November 29 crash of its second prototype. The first SPn prototype took to the air again on February 23 from the company’s headquarters at Tussenhausen-Mattsies in southern Germany.
The program team has now completed more than 300 flight-test hours, with the
first prototype having logged most of these. The second prototype had flown just over 32 hours at the time of the accident.
Germany’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation approved the resumption of flight trials after Grob completed a 300-hour maintenance check and a thorough inspection of the aircraft. The first prototype aircraft will now focus on systems and performance evaluations.
The company has completed construction of a third prototype, which is due to start flying in the second quarter. Grob is now building another SPn fuselage to be used for dynamic fatigue tests.
The manufacturer intends to complete certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency during the first quarter of next year, followed by U.S. approval in the second quarter. “Having the SPn flying again reconfirms to the industry that we are still confident on the road to certification,” said Grob Aerospace CEO Niall Olver. “I would particularly like to thank all our suppliers and our customers for their unwavering support these difficult last few months.”
Meanwhile, Soloy Aviation Solutions has delivered four of the five engine inlet assemblies it is providing for the SPn certification program. The assembly houses the bleed-air ducting and interfaces with the main nacelles for the aircraft’s Williams FJ44-3A engines.