2010: A review of the year’s first flights

Here’s our review of the year’s first flight highlights. Think a first flight we did not mention is worthy of being included? Let us know by leaving a comment.

29 January: PAK FA FIFTH-GENERATION FIGHTER

Flown from KnAAPO’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur site, the PAK FA was piloted by Sergei Bogdan, and “performed excellently”, says Sukhoi. Read more…

RC501-takeoff-4-thumb-560x372-62708.jpg8 February: BOEING 747-8

RC501 rotated on runway 34L at 12:39 PT as the skies cleared over Everett, Washington giving Mark Feuerstein and Tom Imrich blue sky to take the first 747-8F on its maiden sortie. Read more…



18 March: AC313


The triple-engined 13.8t AC313 is a development of the Harbin Z-8 military helicopter, itself a 1980s derivative of the Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon that was first flown in 1962. Read more…

HAL helicopter.jpg29 March: HAL LIGHT COMBAT HELICOPTER

HAL managing director Ashok Nayak says performance was good during the flight, on 29 March at HAL’s base in Bangalore. He says future testing aims to reduce the aircraft’s overall weight and improve manoeuvrability. The 5.5t helicopter, a derivative of HAL’s Dhruv advanced light helicopter, is being developed for the Indian armed forces.  Read more…

4 June: SPACEX FALCON 9

The Falcon 9 is one of two vehicles NASA is funding as part of its commercial orbital transportation system (COTS) program for hauling cargo to and from the International Space Station. The other booster is the Taurus II and its Cygnus capsule, built by Orbital Sciences. Orbital plans its first launch next year. Read more…

6 June: F-35C

The 55-minute flight on 6 June by CF-1 — the first carrier variant — may seem a minor event in the history of the F-35 program.. But, in the sweep of naval history, CF-1′s airborne debut will be remembered as a “very historic day”, Lockheed Martin Vice President Tom Burbage says. Read more…

7 July: First night flight of SOLAR IMPULSE

HB-SIA took off from Payerne air base in Switzerland at 07:51 local time with the project’s co-founder and chief executive André Borscherg on board. It will spend the day ascending to an altitude of 8,500m (27,900ft) while the sun charges its batteries ahead of the planned night flight. Read more…

Euro Hawk UAV.jpg29 June: EURO HAWK UAV

The first Northrop Grumman Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle completed its debut flight on 29 June, launching a six-month flight test process before delivery to Germany by the end of the year. Read more…

29 July: USAF HC-130J

Flown from the company’s Marietta site in Georgia on 29 July, the HC-130J is configured as a combat tanker for use in support of personnel recovery missions. Read more…



14 November: S-70i BLACK HAWK

The aircraft is the second International Black Hawk to have undergone final assembly in Mielec. The first was shipped to the USA and performed its debut sortie from West Palm Beach, Florida on 1 July, and is having unspecified mission equipment installed. Read more…



17 November: PICADOR


Company president Avi Leumi says the debut flight lasted for 20min and enabled the development team to “acquire very important data”. Further test flights will take place soon, he adds. Read more…

30 November: FURY 1500

During the hour and a half flight from the airfield at the US Army’s Ft. Hunter Liggett in California, the new version of the Fury was flown using AeroMech’s proprietary mission management software, knows as SharkFin. Read more…

HondaJet.jpg21 December: HONDAJET

Honda Aircraft on 21 December announced first flight of a production-representative HondaJet featuring its distinctive, wing-mounted General Electric HF120 turbofan engines. Read more…

29 December: TU-204SM?

As we put the finishing touches on this list, the Tu-204SM was due to make its maiden flight on 29 December. Read more…

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