The nation’s first indigenously manufactured advanced jet trainer, the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) T-5 (AT-5) Yung Ying (勇鷹, “Brave Eagle”), yesterday conducted its first preflight taxi test ahead of its planned flight test later this month.
Manufactured by AIDC, the AT-5 is scheduled to undergo flight testing at about the time of the Dragon Boat Festival, said a Ministry of National Defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The taxi test was conducted at the Ching Chuan Kang Air Force Base (清泉崗) in Taichung by AIDC, the ministry and the air force.
Photo courtesy of Military News Agency
The ministry did not announce the test to avoid attracting a crowd, but despite its best efforts, aviation enthusiasts still appeared in droves, the official said.
“We need to make some adjustments according to the results of the taxi tests, but plans for a first test flight in late June have not changed,” the official said, adding that test schedules have not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We plan to hold two to three more taxi tests, including high-speed taxi tests, before the test flight,” the official said, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would be invited to oversee the test flight.
Two AIDC Indigenous Defense Fighters would be accompanying and assessing the test flight, as well as recording the event, the official said.
The initial test flight would be simple, with the AT-5 taking off and circling above the airport at a limited height before landing, the official said, adding that the airplane’s landing gear would remain extended during the flight.
The airplane’s design was completed in March 2018, with the A1 prototype — intended for testing — completed on Sept. 4 last year, the official said.
AIDC plans to deliver 66 AT-5s to the air force by 2026 to replace the AT-3s, which the air force plans to retire.
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