Textron, the parent company of Cessna, is getting ready to fly the prototype of the Scorpion light attack jet it’s developing with a company called AirLand Enterprises LLC. The joint venture hopes to have the Scorpion flying by Dec. 5. AirLand has no operating website that we can find but LinkedIn names its CEO as Clay Prince and says he founded the company six years ago. The partnership is called Textron AirLand LLC. The flight will take place at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, not far from the Cessna-owned “Pawnee plant” at which it is being built. Systems tests are under way this week.
Media will not be invited to witness the first flight but Textron AirLand public relations officials are lining up interviews with aviation media to mark the event. Although Cessna CEO Scott Ernest has claimed the little fighter is essentially a Cessna project, Textron says it’s not part of Cessna”s business but has been developed in conjunction with Cessna. Regardless of its lineage, the aircraft is mostly built from composites and project manager Ed Hackett told the Wichita Eagle in September that lessons learned in the Scorpion’s development will be applied to Cessna projects in the future.
This story has been corrected to clarify Cessna’s involvement in the project.