For many years the U.S. Air Force has operated a fleet of surplus Phantom IIs as QF-4s in the full-scale aerial target role (FSAT). Under projected usage rates, that fleet will be consumed within the next few years. Now, the Air Force has taken the first step to providing a replacement. Not surprisingly, the type chosen is the Lockheed Martin F-16, the older variants of which are entering the boneyard in some numbers.
Eglin Air Force Base
Vision Systems International, a joint venture between Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins, has received a $54.1 million contract to begin production of Gen II helmet-mounted display systems for the F-35 Lightning II. Lockheed Martin awarded VSI the contract to deliver 52 displays and 30 aircraft shipsets. These HMDS components cover the requirements for Lots 1, 2 and 3 of F-35 low-rate initial production.
Embraer’s Phenom 300 midsize jet is proceeding toward FAA and Brazilian approval on schedule by year-end. To date, all aerodynamics tests are complete on the larger Phenom derivative, including natural ice-shape flight trials. At the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In held in April in Lakeland, Fla., the company said the light jet was undergoing natural ice testing, as well as lightning and high-intensity radiated field (Hirf) testing.
Adam Aircraft successfully completed initial environmental testing of its A700 very light jet at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin AFB in Florida. During the five-day exercise, the A700’s Williams FJ33-4 engines were exposed to freezing fog, freezing rain and blowing snow to evaluate the ground performance of the engine inlet anti-ice system.
Adam Aircraft’s $2.25 million A700 very light jet took a step closer to FAA certification on Friday when the agency issued Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for the Williams FJ33-powered airplane. The TIA allows the A700 program to enter the phase where FAA representatives are authorized to begin flight testing the twinjet for certification credit. FAA certification is planned for the second half of next year.
EUROCOPTER BO 105S, SANTA ROSA BEACH, FLA., OCT. 20, 2004. An EMS flight of a Eurocopter BO 105S, callsign Airheart One, crashed in Choctawhatchee Bay at 12:43 a.m. two minutes after takeoff from Santa Rosa in IMC. No flight plan was filed. The helicopter, operated by Metro Aviation as a Part 135 emergency medical services flight, was destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot, a paramedic and a flight nurse were killed.
Sino Swearingen recently conducted cold-soak testing of its SJ30-2 at a facility at Eglin AFB, Fla., completing another requirement for FAA certification. The aircraft was soaked at -40 degrees C and then tested for avionics performance; pre-start, engine start and operation; landing gear retraction and extension; hydraulic system operations; and functions of other systems and controls.
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