Scaled Composites‘ most recent project, an experimental jet known as Model 401, made its first flight Oct. 11, 2017.
Officials with Scaled report they worked with a customer to build two vehicles to demonstrate advanced, low-cost manufacturing techniques and to provide aircraft for research flight services to the aviation industry and the United States government.
The two vehicles were designed to be identical in outer mold line and performance, with each aircraft powered by a single Pratt & Whitney JTD-15D-5D engine with 3,045 pounds of thrust.
The vehicles are capable of flying Mach 0.6 with a service ceiling of 30,000 feet and have a wingspan of 38 feet and are 38 feet long. They have an empty weight of 4,000 pounds and a maximum takeoff weight of 8,000 pounds with an endurance of up to three hours.
“This is such an exciting time for us,” said Aaron Cassebeer, project engineer. “Today was a great day for our test team. We had a great flight and we are looking forward to the future test program.”
This successful first flight is the beginning of the flight test phase for vehicle number 1. The Scaled team plans to continue envelope expansion on the first aircraft as they move toward first flight of the second Model 401 vehicle.
Scaled Composites is a specialty aerospace and composites development company offering design, build, and test capabilities. Founded by Burt Rutan in 1982 in Mojave, Calif., Scaled has averaged one first flight of a unique, new airplane per year, according to officials.