KAI'S T-50 Trainer Begins Engine Air Start Flight Testing
Fort Worth, TX, 15-MAR-04 -- The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has begun engine air start flight testing of the F404-GE-102 jet engine that powers the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer.
The T-50 is being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]. The F404 engine is manufactured by General Electric Aircraft Engines of Lynn, Mass.
Air start testing involves intentionally shutting down the engine in flight and restarting it.
The goal of our engine air start testing is to verify the air start envelope and procedures, said Lt. Col. Lee, Choong-Hwan, one of the ROKAF T-50 test pilots. This testing is critical because of the single-engine configuration of the T-50. The F404 has proven to be very reliable in other aircraft programs, and we are confident it will be just as reliable in the T-50.
Approximately 15 flights over a seven-month period are planned to complete the air start testing. Testing will be conducted throughout the T-50 operational envelope to determine optimum procedures in the unlikely event of an engine problem.
The F404/F414 engine family is also used in the F-117, F/A-18, A-4S and Gripen; it powered the initial Rafale, F-20 and X-31 test vehicles; and it has accumulated approximately 11 million engine flight hours of operation.