Alenia Aermacchi test flights upgraded SF-260 trainer aircraft
Alenia Aermacchi has successfully completed an initial test flight of its upgraded SF-260TP primary and basic trainer aircraft in Venegono, Italy.
Equipped with new digital glass cockpit, an enhanced multispectral vision system and an upgraded air conditioning system, the aircraft is currently in the final testing stages and is scheduled to undergo demonstrations for undisclosed customers.
A customised version of the Avidyne integrated digital avionic system, the new cockpit features two large LCD displays and one control display unit (CDU) to manage the functions of the aircraft.
Additional features include two integrated flight displays (IFD) incorporate radio, very high frequency (VHF) omnidirectional range radio-guide (VOR), GPS and inertial platform and air data, to help ensure complete redundancy and enhanced safety for pilots.
The avionics suite is capable of conducting a wide range of functions, such as primary flight data presentation to pilots, radio-guided navigation and GPS autonomous navigation, digital moving map, flight management system, aircraft checklist display and flight data downloading for post-flight debriefs.
The enhanced vision system (EVS) features an infra-red television camera installed under the left wing leading edge to provide pilots with improved visibility at night and in challenging environmental conditions.
Operated by a digital control display on the instrument panel, the new air conditioning system is completely electrical and has high cooling capability to ensure greater crew comfort.
Powered by a single Allison 250-B17D engine, the SF-260TP is a turboprop version of the SF-260 light trainer / attack aircraft and is designed to provide cost-effective primary and basic training to pilots even in adverse weather conditions.
Approximately 900 SF-260 trainers in different versions have been delivered to 27 military customers worldwide, including Italian, Mexican and Philippine air forces.
Image: The upgraded SF-260TP trainer aircraft during its first test flight. Photo courtesy of © 2012 Alenia Aermacchi.