Viper Claims Experimental "First"
Viper Aircraft's new Viperjet LXR fanjet is a 375-KTAS, experimental two-place tandem aerobatic-capable personal jet with an 1100-nm range (with reserves) and room for 125 pounds of baggage -- and it's now available with a special endorsement from the FAA. The company has established standardized qualifications and training for the aircraft that qualifies pilots who've taken that training for an Authorized Experimental Aircraft certificate. The certificate is basically the experimental aircraft version of a type rating and in practice it means its holder "will no longer need to receive a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the FAA," to operate the aircraft, according to Viper President Scott Hanchette. Hanchette believes that makes his the "first experimental aviation company in its class" to receive such a certificate. According to Viper, the authorized certificate is part of the FAA's vintage and experimental program's goal of establishing standardized pilot qualifications, training and certification in experimental U.S. and foreign aircraft.
Viper's program has already seen its first certificate recipients in Alain Garcia and professional test pilot Len Fox. All pilots seeking the certificate must complete the recommended training syllabus and fulfill the certificate requirements, which include a comprehensive review and flight evaluation by an FAA designated experimental aircraft examiner.