As a single of the to start with technology of regional jets that flew some two many years prior to these manufactured by Canadair, Embraer, and Dornier in the 1990s, the Aerospatiale SN.601 Corvette straddled the line amongst the small business and regional marketplaces and was as a result the smallest to have served commercially.
Its seed was planted when the French authorities, continuing its tactic of re-creating the country’s post-war aviation sector started with piston airliners these kinds of as the Breguet Deux Ponts, the Sud-Est Armagnac, and the Sud-Ouest Bretagne, requested that plane producers submit proposals for a compact twin-turbofan liaison/trainer. Then-different Sud-Aviation and Nord-Aviation elected to jointly build an executive jet specified the SN.600 Diplomate in January of 1968 when French indigenous SNECMA built a appropriate powerplant for it, the M49 Larzac.
Exhibited for the 1st time in model form at that year’s Hanover Air Exhibit, it highlighted what grew to become the regular small business jet configuration-a very low wing, a slim fuselage, a ahead, remaining door, swept aerodynamic surfaces, and two aft-mounted turbofans. It most carefully resembled the Cessna Citation 500. It also experienced pretty early and incredibly tiny-ability regional jet application.
Predicted revenue, which laterproved unrealistically inflated, were being predicted to quantity some 400 from globally operators over and previously mentioned the first 60 envisioned from the French armed forces.
Reflecting its joint Sud- and Nord-Aviation corporation origins, the aircraft, with its “SN” designation, to start with took to the sky in prototype variety on July 16, 1970, but the prolonged growth of its intended M49 powerplant necessitated the use of two 2,200 thrust-pound Pratt and Whitney Canada JT15D-1s in its place. While its maiden flight was productive, its take a look at program did not continue in this vein. Through stall trials 8 months later, on March 22, it crashed, ending in its demise.
A protracted period of time of redesign, before which Sud- and Nord-Aviation merged to kind Aerospatiale, resulted in a 5.5-foot more time fuselage, supplying the now-redesignated SN.601 Corvette 100 a 45.4-foot overall length a 42-foot wingspan, to which suggestion fuel tanks could be optionally mounted to enhance array two 2,300 thrust-pound JT15D-4 turbofans and a 13,450-pound gross bodyweight. Selection, with its utmost payload, was just over 1,000 miles.
So-configured, the 2nd and third prototypes respectively flew on December 20, 1972 and March 7, 1973. The very first generation example adopted suit 8 months afterwards, on November 9, and French certification was gained an additional 6 months immediately after that, on May well 28, 1974.
The type’s problem plagued system was barely aided by opposition, specially on its govt aspect. The similarly configured, French-made Falcon 20, dispersed through Pan American Falcon Jets, relished a brand name name recognition edge and was ready to penetrate the coveted US market place.
Tries to conclude identical agreements were unsuccessful, especially with Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), Piper Plane, and its personal Atlanta-primarily based US Corvette Included North American aircraft completion, gross sales, and distribution middle. While its ultimate a single, with Oklahoma-based mostly Air Centre, Inc., appeared a lot more promising, it never gained a one manufacturing-standard aircraft out of the intended seventy.
As the third most costly enterprise jet immediately after the Cessna Quotation 500 and the Learjet 24, it was subjected to charge overruns and the French governing administration gave serious assumed to cancelling the method.
Soon after acquiring only 24 orders, Aerospatiale did just that. A report manufactured by the government’s Court of Audit said that the company’s administration lacked adequate comprehending of the challenges concerned in the experience of levels of competition from similar US, British, and other French designs, declaring, “It is specified that the Corvette software is, and will stay, a major industrial and money disaster.”
In its regional jet job, it discovered limited application by 3rd-stage carriers searching for to give point-to-point, hub-bypassing support on routes also thin to assistance greater plane.
Air Alpes, for illustration, which took delivery of two Corvette 100s in 1974 and a different two in 1975, operated routes on its individual behalf from Paris and those, these kinds of as Lyons-Brussels, on Air France’s, its plane appearing in its livery on 1 aspect and its own on its other. Accommodating a dozen travellers, they showcased two rows of solitary seats upcoming to the five oval windows on possibly aspect, divided by a central aisle. The cockpit rely was two, but there had been no flight attendants in the cabin.
Other operators bundled Air Alsace, Air Champagne, and TAT Touraine Air Transport in France, and Sterling Airways in Denmark. Airbus Industrie utilised 5 aircraft as corporate shuttles concerning 1981 and 2009.
While an 18-passenger, Corvette 200, with a 6.7-foot fuselage stretch, was proposed, it under no circumstances proceeded outside of the principle phase, given that its original 100 collection ceased output in 1977 following 40 aircraft experienced been developed, ending France’s 2nd worst business airliner plan following that of the 150-passenger Dassault-Breguet Mercure 100, whose production operate was only 12, which include two prototypes.
Plagued by prototype incident a prolonged, corrective development interval a modify in powerplant variety pricey procedure failure to build a North American distribution location sturdy competitiveness management ignorance and capability that proved insufficient, the Aerospatiale SN.601 Corvette nonetheless served as an instance of a single of the a few regional jet origins: an all-new layout, the conversion of an present turboprop a single, or the use of a organization jet platform.