16 July 2002
16 July 2002
Adam Aircraft Industries CEO Rick Adam witnessed the realization of his dream today as he watched the first A500(TM) aircraft built by the Denver-based aircraft manufacturer take flight on Thursday.
The Rocky Mountains provided a dramatic backdrop to the historic achievement as the pressurized, centerline-thrust twin rose above Runway 35 at Centennial Airport and took to blue skies. Adam was flanked on the tarmac by company President, John Knudsen, along with a crowd of design engineers and aircraft technicians that make up the Adam Aircraft's 132-member staff.
Chief Test Pilot Glenn Maben and Flight Test DER Bruce Barrett piloted the first flight of the A500, lifting off at 12:40 MDT with the aircraft's two Continental 550 engines at takeoff power. The six-place aircraft -- with an estimated 250-knot maximum speed -- soared over Centennial airport, just south of Denver, climbing up to an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level. The inaugural flight included a series of aircraft handling and engine performance tests, which included cycling the flap system. Flying chase for the first flight in a Cessna 210 were Adam Aircraft Test Pilot Steve Martin and Vice President of Flight Operations Tom Wiesner. Lasting just over 40 minutes, the flight concluded as Maben secured a picture-perfect landing and signaled thumbs up from the cockpit to the assemblage of well-wishers gathered along the taxiway.
Today's achievement is the culmination of a manufacturing effort begun by Adam and Knudsen in 1998. With engineering and tooling efforts well underway, the first carbon composite airframe parts for Serial No. 0001 were produced just 9 months ago. ""We set an impressive schedule, and we knew we had assembled an aggressive team with the talent and skill to pull it off,"" said Adam.
Though bringing the A500 to its first flight is a significant milestone, more goals lie ahead. ""Our team has worked very hard over the past 4 years to develop the A500 and get to this point,"" Adam continued. ""Now it is time to test the aircraft, attain certification on schedule, and then get the aircraft on the market."" A second test aircraft, Serial No. 0002, is already under construction and fabrication of parts for a third test aircraft will begin soon. After developmental testing, these three test aircraft will undergo a series of flight tests in preparation for FAA certification, which is targeted for early next year.
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