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.
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.
Flight testing of the 1,800-nm G160 Ranger, which first flew last March, continues at Grob-Werke’s aviation facility in Tussenhausen, Germany. If all testing goes as planned, the seven-seat turboprop single will receive FAA/EASA certification in the third quarter.
The Bell 429 can hover out of ground effect (OGE) at 11,000 feet at its maximum takeoff weight of 7,000 pounds. The altitude exceeds Bell’s previous customer commitment of a maximum OGE hover of 9,300 feet.
With the Raytheon Hawker Horizon and Bombardier Continental making their first flights within three days of each other in Wichita last month, development is virtually neck and neck for these two highly competitive super-midsize business jets.
The first Lockheed Martin (LM) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has now been grounded for more than six months. But program officials hope to get the world’s largest combat aircraft program airborne again by the end of this month. “We have a very aggressive flight test schedule to get everything done by October 2012,” Bill Coutts, LM’s F-35 site director, told AIN at Fort Worth recently.
Diamond’s second single-engine D-Jet made its first flight on September 14 in London, Ontario. This D-Jet incorporates aerodynamic improvements derived from flight testing of the first D-Jet and is also production-conforming. Three more D-Jets in the final configuration are under construction, and certification flight testing should begin shortly.
Certification of the 3,100-nm super-midsize Challenger 300 was scheduled for the first quarter of this year, but Bombardier said last month that this approval would not happen until the second quarter. At press time, four flight-test Challenger 300s had logged more than 1,640 hours during 759 flights. The flight-test program is being conducted at Bombardier’s Wichita Flight Test Center.
Bombardier was planning to fly the Global 5000 for the first time late last month from its Toronto Downsview facility before ferrying the new long-range jet to the airframer’s Wichita Flight Test Center. The first of the two aircraft destined for flight test is seen here in a recent photo undergoing preparations for its maiden flight; the second aircraft is scheduled to fly later this month.