The Solar Impulse project has made significant progress toward its aim of being the first solar-powered aircraft flying at night. The team initiated by psychiatrist and famous aeronaut Bertrand Piccard began construction of the 200-foot-wingspan prototype late in April. Flight tests should start next year.
General Aviation » General Aviation Aircraft
News and issues concerning general aviation, specifically airplanes and helicopters powered by piston and alternative engines (i.e., non-turbine powered aircraft).
British Columbia-based Viking Air, which purchased a number of de Havilland Canada type certificates from Bombardier last year, announced last month it was going to begin production on the turboprop Twin Otter. This will be the company’s first venture into aircraft production, having provided service and support on its DHC type certificates since last year.
Grob Aerospace has restarted the flight-test program for its SPn jet, just short of three months after the crash of its second prototype on November 29. The first SPn prototype took to the air again on February 23 from the company’s headquarters at Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany.
In what Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) called a “giant first step” in reopening Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to general aviation, a Hawker 1000 operated by New World Jet for Jet Aviation landed this morning after flying to the nation’s capital from Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey.
After a few weather-related postponements, Steve Fossett took off in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer at 6:47 p.m. CST on February 28 and returned to the same runway in Salina, Kan., 67 hours 1 minute later (at 1:48 p.m. on March 3), having got there the long way without refueling. Takeoff weight for the flight was about 22,100 pounds, of which a staggering 83 percent was jet fuel to feed the single 2,300-pound-thrust Williams FJ44 turbofan.
The Yakovlev design bureau plans to build another 12 examples of the Yak-130 advanced trainer, which is on display in the static park here, during the next two years, according to general director Oleg Demchenko, who is also chairman of Irkut Corporation.
Making its first flight just days before the show, the Beechcraft King Air 350ER special mission aircraft is making a debut appearance here at Le Bourget. Building on Raytheon’s extensive experience in producing some 3,000-plus aircraft in this category, the 350ER differs from its predecessors in offering a total solution in terms of both platform and payload.
The dream of solar-powered, long-distance flight is taking shape. Bertrand Piccard, one of the two pilots who became famous with the first round-the-world balloon flight, yesterday introduced a model of a sun-powered, single-pilot airplane that could fly in 2008. The latest design update of the Solar Impulse aircraft, shown here at the Paris Air Show, included noticeable design changes since program launch late in 2003.
Grob is developing a new high-altitude long-endurance aircraft based on the new SPn Utility Jet. Dubbed the G600 HALE, the aircraft could be used on surveillance or research tasks operating at extremely high altitudes. With a 116.80-foot wingspan, the basic G600 will have a range of 5,540 nm and an endurance of some 17 hours. However, an ER variant of the G600 would extend the endurance to 18 hours 30 minutes.
Piaggio Aero Industries yesterday sold a Piaggio P.180 Avanti II to an undisclosed French customer. The new twin turboprop pusher will be delivered in January 2008. The deal was struck here at Le Bourget by the Italian manufacturer’s French agent Theirry Boutsen.