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blank 12/10/15 08:00AM Business Jets, Readers Pics, Silvercrest Test Engine, Test Aircraft

100th flight of Silvercrest Gulfstream II Flight Test Bed Aircraft

SkyWay Aerospace Technology and SNECMA mark 100th flight of Silvercrest Gulfstream II Flight Test Bed Aircraft

 SAN ANTONIO, TX – December, 2015 – An uneventful touchdown under clear December skies marked completion of the 100th successful flight of SNECMA’s Flight Test Bed aircraft for their eagerly-anticipated Silvercrest business jet engine. Texas-based SkyWay Aerospace Technology (SWAT) was contracted by French aerospace manufacturer Safran/Snecma to engineer and assemble the one-of-a-kind aircraft for engine certification testing. Featuring the new Silvercrest test engine on one side and the original G-II’s Rolls-Royce Spey engine on the other, the aircraft provides a convenient vehicle to perform all of the data gathering and performance evaluations of their new engines.

SNECMA G-II test aircraft
SNECMA G-II test aircraft — original Spey engine on right and Silvercrest test engine on left

The initial flight of the modified Gulfstream G-II business jet took place in May of 2014. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft moved from SWAT’s SkyPlace facility to its new home at San Antonio’s Kelly Field. There, it was destined to spend a short time in basic handling and performance flight tests before being re-configured back to its double-RR Spey standard and flown to France to be modified again for continuation into its full-blown flight test program. The short series of post-mod flight tests occurred very quickly and the airplane performed well.

SNECMA SWAT Team
SNECMA Silvercrest flight test team and SWAT support personnel

SNECMA were so pleased with the experience of flying in experimental status in the U.S. that they decided to keep the airplane in the Silvercrest configuration and relocate their flight test team from France to Kelly Field. SWAT was given the opportunity to bid on, and win, a follow-on maintenance and flight test support contract. As a result, some of the SWAT team members that were instrumental in getting the engine installation and instrumentation project completed are now supporting the airplane’s flight testing program.

The modified Gulfstream II flight test airplane has been a work-horse since it arrived at Kelly and December 2, 2015, marked the 100th flight in the Silvercrest configuration. The 1970’s-era Gulfstream II was extensively modified for the SAFRAN/SNECMA Silvercrest test program, with custom-designed engine mounts and other hardware manufactured by SWAT’s sister company, Sierra Industries of Uvalde, Texas. In addition to engine mounting and structural modifications, the aircraft includes newly engineered electronic engine controls and a completely separate electrical and hydraulic system for the new engine. The project also included the design and installation of extensive in-flight monitoring and test equipment.

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