Taiwan's Brave Eagle Jet Trainer Makes Inaugural Flight
(Source: Taiwan News; posted June 22, 2020)
By Kelvin Chen
Taiwan’s new AT-5 advanced jet trainer actually made its first flight on June 10, but a major ceremony today marked its “official” first flight, in the presence of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. (Taiwan MND photo)
TAIPEI --- After nearly a year of dynamic and static testing, the Brave Eagle Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) has made its first official flight at a special ceremony Monday morning (June 22) at Ching Chuan-kang Air Force Base in Taichung, with President Tsai Ing-wen presiding over the event.

The official inaugural flight ceremony was held at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning and included a video explaining the engineering and testing behind the Brave Eagle project, a flight demonstration, the testimonies of Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation employees, and an account of the designing and manufacturing processes of the domestically-built jet, CNA reported.

President Tsai gave a speech in which she congratulated the test flight personnel and staff promoting the aircraft. The event ended at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Su Tzu-yun, a scholar at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in a recent CNA interview that before a fighter plane or any other type of aircraft can fly for the first time, it must first undergo structural and initial ground tests. The structural test includes an inspection of the fuselage and wings, fatigue testing, and load testing, while the ground test entails inspecting the aircraft’s functional verification, fuel system, engine, avionics system, operational interface, and other items that require adjustment.

Su also mentioned that the first flight will likely be completed within 20 minutes, adding that after collecting various data, the plane’s systems will be fine-tuned. Monday's flight took about 11 minutes from take-off to landing.

The aircraft officially debuted last year on September 24 and will replace the AT-3 Tzu Chiang jet trainer and F-5E Tiger II fighter aircraft (currently used for training).

Presently, fighter pilots must first train on a propeller plane before moving on to the AT-3 and, finally, the F-5. The introduction of the new aircraft will streamline the process by allowing pilots to fly in the Brave Eagle trainer jet directly after completing propeller aircraft training.

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