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.”
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.
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.