With little fanfare and a lot of crossed fingers, flight test of the embattled Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey resumed in the final days of May at the U.S. Navy’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Four of five test aircraft planned for the Continental flight-test program are now flying, with the fourth (dedicated to proving the reliability and maintainability of the interior in flight) having made its first flight on April 5. By the middle of last month the four airplanes had accumulated more than 641 hr on 398 flights.
Miami-based Quiet Technology Aerospace is nearing completion of about 45 hr of planned flight testing of its first FAA-conforming Stage 3 hush kit for Gulfstream IIs and IIIs. Flight testing of a GII equipped with the company’s translating-ejector type hush kit started in late May and follows 30 hr of baseline flight testing of the aircraft without the hush kit installed.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace engineers working on the BA609 Tiltrotor have stepped up their certification efforts, now working with the FAA and the EASA (via Italian authorities) and planning on more than 100 hours of flight testing this year. That goal represents a major acceleration; the company has logged only 300 hours since 2003. However, the first flight of the third prototype has been delayed again.
Whenever a manufacturer develops a new airplane, engineers have the opportunity to incorporate new technology into the design. With the large-cabin Columbus, Cessna engineers didn’t opt for a composite airframe or an all-electric systems architecture, but they have chosen an innovative approach to fly-by-wire flight controls.
Grob has delayed certification of its all-composite SPn utility jet from the first quarter until the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the third flight-test aircraft left Grob’s headquarters in Tussen- hausen-Mattsies, Germany, on January 28 for three months of flight testing in Granada, Spain, at facilities managed by the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial at the Spanish Ministry of Defence.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft hopes to make the first engine runs on its PowerJet SaM146-equipped Superjet 100 this week as it awaits authorization to begin flight tests that it now says could take place in about a month’s time. A second aircraft, now undergoing completion, could fly before June, according to Sukhoi.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace engineers working on the BA609 Tiltrotor have stepped up their certification efforts and now plan more than 100 hours of flight testing this year–a major acceleration over the 300 hours logged since 2003. However, the first flight of the third prototype faces yet another delay. Bell/Agusta now expects certification of the hybrid helicopter/airplane design in three years.
Early last month–while Bombardier’s business jet production was closed for a four-month plant shutdown in response to dropping sales and deliveries, and following on the heels of the announcement of a plan that will lay off 3,000 employees–a bit of good news broke through the gloom. The first Global 5000 entered flight-test after completing its maiden voyage on March 7.
Like the old blues song goes, “It’s been a long time coming. But a change is gonna come.” That change–the possible revolution that is the promise of civil tiltrotor flight– took to the air on March 7 with the first flight of Bell/Agusta Aerospace’s BA609 tiltrotor prototype.