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13th of July 1992

Today's look at aviation history takes us to Italy for the first flight of the 3I Sky Arrow. 3I (Iniziative Industriali Italiane) designed and manufactured the carbon fibre light aircraft which made its first flight on this day in aviation history in 1992.

The unique configuration gave an unobstructed view for its two occupants with its high wing (aft of the cockpit) and pusher prop. Sadly in 2008 3I entered bankruptcy and the project game to a halt, but in 2012 the Italian aeronautic company Magnaghi Aeronautic purchased the project. and restarted it. This led to some of the models no longer being produced, while new models / versions were developed. Currently, versions are available for General Aviation, Light Aircraft and even as a home built aircraft. Difference range from fixed to retractable landing gear and a heavier MTOW version ('standard' 650 kg vs. 710 kg 'high' MTOW). In 2012 the new program owners introduced improvements from the original design, they were, amongst others, larger wing tanks, improved aerodynamics, reinforced structures and modernised avionics. While a four-seater version was also considered to be used as border patrol, aerial surveillance and pollution monitoring aircraft for government use.

Some aircraft specifications for the Sky Arrow 650

  • Crew: two

  • Length: 7.60 m (24 ft 11 in)

  • Wingspan: 9.68 m (31 ft 9 in)

  • Height: 2.56 m (8 ft 5 in)

  • Wing area: 13.5 m2 (145 sq ft)

  • Gross weight: 650 kg (1,433 lb)

  • Useful load: 250kg (556 lbs)

  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912 F2 , 73.5 kW (98 hp)

  • Maximum speed: 194 km/h (121 mph, 105 kn)

  • Cruise speed: 187 km/h (116 mph, 101 kn)

  • Service ceiling: 4,100 m (13,500 ft)

  • Rate of climb: 4.3 m/s (840 ft/min)

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