Textron AirLand’s prototype Scorpion twin-engine “tactical” jet, which was built by Textron subsidiary Cessna Aircraft, flew for the first time December 12 in Wichita. The aircraft, flown by engineering test pilot Dan Hinson and copilot David Sitz, took off from McConnell Air Force Base and conducted “a range of handling maneuvers” for nearly an hour-and-a-half, completing the flight at 10:30 a.m. Central Time. The joint-venture company had delayed the flight for several days because of weather in Wichita.
It declared that the maiden flight marked “one of the fastest developments” of a U.S.-built tactical jet, with the program moving from initial design to first flight in fewer than 24 months. “When the design phase began less than two years ago, we were confident we would deliver a uniquely affordable, versatile tactical aircraft by taking advantage of commercial aviation technologies and best practices,” said Textron CEO Scott Donnelly. “Today’s flight met all expectations, and keeps us on track toward certification and production.”
Textron AirLand unveiled the Scorpion at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., in September, describing it as an “affordable” tactical aircraft capable of performing “lower-threat” Air National Guard and homeland security missions.