Quicksilver Aeronautics announced it has completed the entire flight test regimen required to comply with ASTM industry consensus standards that the company expects will lead to FAA acceptance. With an FAA audit occurring before Christmas, Quicksilver would love to unwrap a very special present by getting approval from the agency. Quicksilver has produced more than 15,000 kit-built aircraft since the early 1970s; this will be their first Special Light-Sport Aircraft.
“We completed an entire ASTM Design & Performance standard test matrix that demands more than 100 hours of test flying,” said Daniel Perez, Chief Operations Officer for the California company. He also noted that those flight hours involved 236 takeoffs and landings. These results follow a long period of other detailed testing and significant document preparation and arranging the factory for repeatable, quality-controlled production of ready-to-fly aircraft. The Sport 2S, a strutted, open cockpit, side-by-side two seater is the first to complete the entire compliance package but the company is also underway for their GT 500 aircraft. The latter was the very first aircraft to win FAA Primary Category approval 20 years ago, in 1993.
“We also had to demonstrate dive speed condition, which calls for flight greater than Never Exceed speed for the Sport 2S model,” observed Perez. Takeoffs and landings were demonstrated in cross winds beyond 15 knots. In addition, Sport 2S stability and control were demonstrated without problems over the full Center of Gravity range.” To achieve this, more than 50 stalls and 20 spins were performed with no abnormal characteristics.
“We caution our tens of thousands of users that these are functions performed in a test environment and such excess speeds and maneuvers are expressly prohibited in normal operation of the aircraft,” indicated Todd Ellefson, a highly experienced Quicksilver pilot who flew the 100 hours of testing.
“The pilot and platform handled well throughout the testing. We put the airplane through some hard maneuvers and some really hard landings. Everything went as planned. It was particularly interesting to watch this aircraft in a spin,” reported Severin Kempf of engineering consulting firm, Streamline Design. Kempf worked on the extensive flight test program with Quicksilver’s Ellefson and added that Todd “was really good to work with on the flight testing.”
“Our success in achieving these solid results prepare us for a visit from several FAA officials scheduled for later this month (December 2013),” said Quicksilver Aeronautics President, Will Escutia. “If we gain the approval of the agency we are prepared to swiftly put the Sport 2S into production as a fully-built aircraft.”