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