Sean Roberts, an experimental test pilot for both military and civilian projects with more than 18,000 flight hours, started the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in 1980 after receiving requests from the aircraft industry for a school that would address FAA certification requirements.
The second of three conforming Sino-Swearingen SJ30-2 light jets joined the flight-test program on October 17. Although Sino Swearingen has yet to officially revise the certification target date again, it’s clear now that it won’t happen until next year at the soonest because the company doesn’t plan to add its third conforming aircraft to the flight-test program for several more months.
This year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget provided an opportunity for me to see Dassault’s new Falcon 7X up close before I got my chance at the left seat, alongside Dassault 26-year veteran senior test pilot Yves (Bill) Kerherve, who has since retired from the company. A former French Navy fighter pilot, Kerherve flew the ultra-quiet 7X through a series of maneuvers for the crowd on the opening day of the show.
Making a final show appearance here is Boeing Business Jets chief pilot Capt. Mike Hewett, whose BBJ flight to EBACE saw him pass the 12,800 flying-hour mark (including more than 4,000 hours in the U.S. Navy flying mostly Grumman A-6 Intruders).
After more than 60 hours of high-speed flight testing at Mojave, Calif., last month, the Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 completed this important phase of testing. The tests covered 331 data points at three altitudes–18,000 feet, 28,000 feet and 41,000 feet. During dive testing from 45,000 feet to 41,000 feet, the airplane (S/N 004) reached a maximum airspeed of Mach 0.90, which was required to confirm the
Aviation Technology Group’s Javelin very light jet (VLJ) prototype flew for the first time last Friday. ATG markets the ejection-seat-equipped, two-place aircraft as a military trainer as well as a business jet. During the 35-minute mission from Centennial Airport, Colo., test pilots flew the prototype to 12,000 feet and 180 knots with its gear down.
Keeping its promise, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation flew the first Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-powered Eclipse 500 certification flight-test aircraft at 10:16 a.m. MST on December 31. The milestone marked the beginning of a 15-month testing program that will involve seven test airframes and culminate with planned FAA certification in March next year.
Glenn Maben & Nathan Forrest
The first Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor performed its first full conversion to airplane mode in Texas this past August. The maneuver has become routine, and the ground-breaking aircraft has gone on to pass the 250-knot airspeed milestone.
Gulfstream Aerospace is claiming a record for a G150 flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Geneva on May 1. A company flight-test airplane completed the 1,575-nm journey in three hours and 40 minutes, flying at an average cruise speed of Mach 0.82 against an average headwind of 25 knots. The crew comprised Gulfstream midsize aircraft advanced programs chief pilot Scott Evans and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) senior test pilot Yoram Geva.