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Wed, Aug 02, 2006

First Flight! Farnborough Aircraft's F1 Kestrel

Prototype Flies In Oregon; Next Stop, UK

Aero-News has learned that at precisely 3:08 pm PDT on July 29, Farnborough Aircraft Corporation's F1 Kestrel prototype N352F lifted off the runway at Oregon's Bend Municpal Airport for the first time. The first flight of the Kestrel marks the completion of nearly five years of design and development, since the newly formed Farnborough Aircraft Corporation began work on the single-engine turboprop design in 2002.

The first prototype has been developed by a small team of dedicated British engineers, led by Technical Director Afandi Darlington and Chief Aerodynamicist Dr Gordon Robinson. The prototype was completed in Oregon by a combined team of British and American engineers.

The 352-knot F1 Kestrel is a high-performance turboprop aircraft, designed to meet the needs of time-sensitive travellers and corporations. Optimized for high speed, maximum cabin comfort for up to six passengers, and the ability to operate from short landing strips at thousands of under-utilized airfields, Farnborough plans to certify the F1 Kestrel to EASA CS-23 and FAA FAR 23 standards.

"The aircraft performed flawlessly throughout the first flight, the highlight being its extremely powerful performance in the circuit which made this a very enjoyable aircraft to fly," said Chief Test Pilot Graham Archer. "I have been particularly impressed with the dedication and workmanship of the Farnborough team, who have produced an extremely well constructed prototype that exceeded my expectations."

Geoffrey Galley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Farnborough Aircraft, called the first flight a "fantastic achievement."

"Despite many obstacles which we have encountered throughout the history of the project, the team have delivered a remarkable and unique aircraft with an exciting future," said Galley. "This is a very proud day for the company, and a testament to what can still be achieved by extraordinary engineering talent combined with the will to succeed. Our first flight is a major milestone on the road to a fully certified aircraft."   

The Kestrel prototype will complete an initial test flight program in Bend during August, before flying to the company's base in the United Kingdom. The aircraft will then continue on to the UAE, to begin a two week promotional tour in the Gulf area.

Following the initial flight testing of prototype N352F, work will begin on certification of the aircraft by Farnborough Aircraft Corporation Ltd,in conjunction with manufacturing partner GAMCO in the UAE.

Farnborough Aircraft Corporation Limited (FACL) is a UK based company responsible for the development of the Kestrel; a new generation, high speed, single engine turboprop aircraft which the company intends to challenge the new generation of VLJs. Farnborough says the Kestrel bridges the gap between turboprops, and substantially more expensive business jets. 

FACL's headquarters are located at the home of UK aerospace, in Farnborough.

FMI: www.gulfaircraft.com

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