SJ30-2 returns to flight following April crash

 - August 4, 2008, 7:07 AM

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. On board S/N 003 for the 42-minute flight were test pilot Chuck Walls, chief pilot Bob Kromer and flight-test engineer Schuyler Horn. The crew took the airplane to 10,000 feet and about 230 knots, performed various flight maneuvers and systems checks and verified the operation of the onboard data-collecting equipment. According to a Sino Swearingen spokesman, S/N 003 is scheduled to fly seven days a week and will be joined eventually by S/N 004, which is being prepared for its first flight, and S/N 005, a former customer airplane that is under assembly. About 300 hours of a 1,500- to 1,700-hour test program have been completed. The spokesman would not speculate on a certification date, but insisted that privately owned Sino Swearingen’s investors are solidly behind the program. Meanwhile, the NTSB continues its investigation of the fatal accident, which occurred after S/N 002 entered an uncommanded right roll during flutter testing at Mach 0.884.