INITIAL SEATRIALS of the McDonnell Douglas (MDC) F-18E/F are scheduled to begin on 17 January.
The trials will take place on the Navy's latest aircraft carrier, the USS Stennis, and will involve a series of arrested landings and catapult take-offs with the first two-seat development aircraft, the F1.
By early January, aircraft F1 was still the only F-18E/F to have been returned to flight-testing following the precautionary grounding in November 1996, caused by compressor-blade cracking in the General Electric F414 engines.
A shortage of repaired engines is slowing the return of aircraft to flight status, but MDC says that all seven development F-18E/Fs should be in flight-testing by the end of this month.
Source: Flight International