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12th of July 1988

If there is one aircraft designer that never comes up with a standard "Run Of The Mill" design, it is Burt Rutan. After yesterday's look at the Adam A500 which had Burt Rutan heritage, today's look at aviation history focuses on Model 143, later known as the Scaled Composites Triumph. One of the many Burt Rutan designs, and another Very Light Jet. This aircraft made its first flight on this day in aviation history in 1988 from Mojave Airport (Ca, USA) The aircraft was designed for Beechcraft and built by Scaled Composites. In typical Rutan style, the aircraft had a canard at the nose and a small horizontal stabiliser in a T-tail configuration.

A unique development idea was the fact that the 3 prototypes would each be equipped with different engines. One piston engine powered, one turboprop-powered and one jet engine powered. The requirement for prop clearance led to an aircraft that stood high on its undercarriage. The first aircraft built was jet engine (turbofan) powered, with both engines mounted in pods on top of the wing. The first flight for the airframe was also the first flight for the Williams FJ44 turbofan, which would be developed over the years into 10 different versions

As the flight test program continued (around 100 hours were flown) and the aircraft met the design specifications. However, the financial situation of Beech (then the owner of Scaled Composites) stopped the project and only the prototype was built. This while it was faster than the Cessna Citation with a 60% better fuel economy. Some aircraft specifications:

  • Length: 39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)

  • Wingspan: 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m)

  • Height: 10 ft 11 in (3.32 m)

  • Wing area: 199.0 sq ft (18.49 m2)

  • Aspect ratio: 11.55:1

  • Empty weight: 5,000 lb (2,268 kg)

  • Max takeoff weight: 9,000 lb (4,082 kg)

  • Powerplant: 2 × Williams FJ44 turbofans, 1,800 lbf (8.0 kN) thrust each

  • Maximum speed: 460 mph (740 km/h, 400 kn) at 35,000 ft (11,000 m)

  • Cruise speed: 390 mph (630 km/h, 340 kn)

  • Stall speed: 86 mph (139 km/h, 75 kn) (power off)

  • Range: 1,800 mi (3,000 km, 1,600 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,000 m)

  • Rate of climb: 4,500 ft/min (23 m/s)

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