Test Flights

  • The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant helicopter has taken to the air for the first time at the Sikorsky facility in West Palm Beach. Designed to have twice the speed and range of conventional rotorcraft, the demonstrator aircraft is being developed as part of the US Army's Future Vertical Lift program.
  • The number of Blue Origin rocket flights went into double digits today as the company's New Shepard booster completed its 10th suborbital mission (NS-10). At 9:05 am CST, the rocket lifted off and reached an altitude of 350,775 ft (66 mi, 107 km) during the 11-minute flight.
  • Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl took to the skies over Southern California on November 18, 2018 carrying a 70-ft-long (21-m) rocket for the first time. The specially modified 747-400 aircraft with the LauncherOne booster under its port wing took off from Victorville, California on an 80-min test flight.
  • We’re a step closer to having high-altitude, long-endurance, autonomous aircraft soaring through the skies. UAVOS has now announced that a prototype of the company’s High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) ApusDuo aircraft has completed the first stage of flight tests.
  • Autonomous aerial vehicles known as High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) can soar at the edges of space for long periods of time. Now, UAVOS has conducted test flights of its ApusDuo prototype, an autonomous, solar-powered aircraft with flexible wings that bend and bounce to keep it aloft.
  • Another small electric airplane took to the skies recently in the form of Bye Aerospace's Sun Flyer 2, which made its maiden flight on April 10. The two-seater prop-driven aircraft has a 3.5-hour flight duration thanks to its six lithium-ion battery packs and is intended as a pilot trainer.
  • Virgin Galactic's tourist-carrying spaceplane has taken a step closer to entering service after its chemical rocket engine was fired for the first time. VSS Unity reached Mach 1.87 (1,424 mph, 2,290 km/h) within 30 seconds of igniting its engine.
  • Saab's next generation fighter jet took another step toward operational status by breaking the sound barrier for the first time. The US$85 million Gripen E​ aircraft flew at speeds beyond Mach 1 (761 mph, 1,225 km/h) over the Baltic Sea on October 18 during flight trials.
  • Airbus Defence and Space and its partners have taken the jet-powered Sagitta demonstrator to the air for the first time. The UAV, which is intended to aid in the development of future production unmanned aerial vehicles, flew on a pre-determined course for around seven minutes during the test.
  • Saab's next-generation fighter, the Gripen E, has taken to the skies for the first time. At 10:32 am CET on June 15, the prototype delta-wing multi-role fighter set out on its maiden flight from Linköping, Sweden​ with Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt at the controls for a 40-minute flight.
  • ​It was in November of 2016 that we first heard about SolarStratos, a 2-seater solar-electric aircraft that's ultimately intended to fly to an altitude of 25,000 m (82,000 ft) – the edge of space, essentially. The plane made its first flight this Friday.
  • ​After being officially unveiled last month, the new Boeing 737 MAX 9 airliner has now been flown for the first time. The test flight took place this Thursday, as the aircraft took to the skies over Puget Sound in Washington state.