Scorpion First Flight 'As Expected'

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Textron AirLand has announced the first flight of its Scorpion Intelligence, Surveillance Reconnaissance/Strike aircraft took place at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita early Thursday. The twinjet took off just after 9 a.m. and landed 1.4 hours later and "met all expectations" according to Textron CEO Scott Donnelly. “When the design phase began less than two years ago, we were confident that we would deliver a uniquely affordable, versatile tactical aircraft by taking advantage of commercial aviation technologies and best practices," Donnelly said in a statement.

Test pilot Dan Hinson said the aircraft performed as expected and will do well in its assigned role. "It showed impressive stability and responsiveness closely matching all of the predicted parameters for today’s maneuvers – it’s going to be a highly capable aircraft for the ISR and homeland security mission set,” Hinson said in the release. The aircraft program was announced two months ago. The first aircraft was built at a Cessna facility in Wichita using Cessna engineering and production staff but it's not a Cessna project. Textron has teamed with a group of investors called AirLand LLC to develop the aircraft. It will be marketed to the Air Force and domestic security agencies but is also planned for export.