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RAH-66 Comanche With New Empennage Completes First Flight

21 December 2000

The Comanche team, on Dec. 18 capped off a year of successful flight testing with the first flight of a new empennage on RAH-66 Comanche Prototype No. 1. The new tail's development involved utilization of advanced digital "virtual reality" engineering design software that permitted rapid fabrication and assembly of the composite and metal structure. From preliminary design to flight test, the entire development cycle encompasses just 10 months. The new tail structure,is a reconfigurable unit that permits adjustments of tail components to validate and optimize a final tail design for production. Charles Allen, Boeing Sikorsky Joint Program Office director, said, "The new empennage's first flight was a major success in every respect. We expect to refine design changes in subsequent flights and validate a production configuration for the new Comanche tail on schedule.