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Scaled Composites flies new single-engine jetScaled Composites flies new single-engine jet

V-tail Model 401 demonstrates ‘low-cost’ manufacturingV-tail Model 401 demonstrates ‘low-cost’ manufacturing

Engineers at California’s Scaled Composites announced Oct. 11 the first flight of Model 401, a single-engine experimental jet, built “to demonstrate advanced, low-cost manufacturing techniques.”

Photo courtesy of Scaled Composites.

The Pratt & Whitney JTD-15D-5D-powered V-tail jet has a wingspan of 38 feet and is also 38 feet long. The single-seat jet can achieve Mach 0.6 with a service ceiling of 30,000 feet with an endurance of “up to three hours,” Scaled Composites said in a news release. Notably, it can carry double its empty weight of 4,000 pounds performing “research flight service” missions for industry partners and the U.S. government.

The company, founded by aircraft designer and visionary Burt Rutan, built two identical models and noted the “successful first flight is the beginning of the flight test phase for vehicle number 1.” According to a news release, engineers will test the initial aircraft’s flight envelope before moving on to the second Model 401.

Scaled Composites Project Engineer Aaron Cassebeer was excited about the new aircraft’s first flight, saying, the flight test team “had a great flight” and was looking forward to additional tests.

The company has developed numerous aircraft designs including the White Knight launch platform for the manned SpaceShipOne spacecraft, the around-the-world Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, the all-composite eight-place Triumph business aircraft, and a plethora of other innovative air, land, and sea craft.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Jet, Experimental, Technology

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