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Aermacchi M-346 Enters Flight Test Phase (July 30)

VENEGONO, Italy --- The collaboration between the Experimental Flight Centre of the Italian Air Force and Aermacchi has been strengthened in view of the type certification of the new advanced trainer M-346. The fourth flight of the aircraft marked the beginning of a joint flight test activity.

This happened less than two weeks after the maiden flight, testifying the maturity of the aircraft, due to its accurate design and the intensive ground tests conducted over the last few months.

In its fourth test flight, the M-346 was flown by Col. Eugenio Lupinacci, chief of the IAF Experimental Flight Wing of Pratica di Mare, and by Olinto Cecconello, Aermacchi Experimental Chief Test Pilot.

The flight, which lasted for about one hour, explored the flight envelope up to the maximum angle of attack presently feasible for the prototype. It also verified the lateral controllability of the aircraft and some approaching and landing manoeuvres in various conditions.

After the flight, Col. Lupinacci claimed: “My first impression was of an extremely user-friendly environment and flight control system, which I got immediately comfortable with.”

He also said that making the aircraft available to an external pilot, less than two weeks after the first flight, witnesses the maturity of the programme and the careful design and preparatory work carried on the aircraft.

The Chief of the Italian Air Force, Gen. Sandro Ferracuti, expressed its acknowledgment for this positive achievement, underlying “the great interest of the programme and the effective contribution of the IAF Experimental Flight Centre”.

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The Italian Air Force Strengthens Cooperation with Aermacchi for Type Certification of the M-346