Thursday, October 12, 2017

Scaled flight tests new experimental aircraft Model 401

Scaled Composites has announced first flight of its newest experimental aircraft, the Model 401 on October 11.

Scaled worked with a proprietary customer to build two vehicles to demonstrate advanced, low-cost manufacturing techniques and to provide aircraft for research flight services to industry partners 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.

Like the RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance UAV, the Model 401 has a V-tail and engine air intake is placed above the fuselage. The single seat aircraft also have downward wing tip device.

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 take-off weight of 8,000 pounds with an endurance of up to three hours.

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.

Now owned by Northrop Grumman, Scaled Composites, LLC is an aerospace and specialty composites development company located in Mojave, California (about 80 miles north of Los Angeles).

Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled has built an average of one proof-of-concept vehicle per year since its inception in 1983.

The experimental aircraft flown in 2016, the Model 400 was an trainer aircraft, which was intended to compete for U.S. Air Force T-X trainer program, but was cancelled after seven flights.