Spookfish is pleased to announce that on 23 December 2016 the Company’s flight test aircraft took to the sky with Spookfish’s next generation camera pod and flight test instrumentation installed for the first time – a major programme milestone. This system was developed in collaboration with the Company’s North American partner, EagleView, for rollout in North America and Australia in 2017.
This first flight was used to ensure the aircraft had no obviously unsafe handling or performance characteristics. From this flight the independent Test Pilot noted there was no obvious performance or handling issues and the pod was effectively ‘invisible’ to the pilot.
The other key task for the first flight was to calibrate the flight test data logging
instrumentation used for recording aircraft speed, position, altitude, engine parameters,
control forces and positions and aircraft orientation.
Spookfish is now undertaking its flight test programme to demonstrate compliance with both
Australian and US certification requirements. The Supplemental Type Certificate (“STC”)
approval is sought from Civil Aviation Safety Authority (“CASA”) with oversight of the
programme by the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (“FAA”) to allow an almost
concurrent approval by both regulators.
Whilst the certification flight testing is underway the camera system is also undergoing
extensive testing on the bench to verify all control system and hardware components. This
system is assembled into a second camera pod which will be the first delivered to EagleView.
This pod will be fitted to the flight test aircraft shortly for in-flight operational testing and
system tuning overseen by EagleView technical personnel.
The on-aircraft conformity inspection of the structural and aerodynamic modifications was
also completed in December. This very detailed conformity inspection process is performed by
CASA to ensure the as-built configuration conforms exactly to the design data submitted for
approval. This is the last of the conformity inspections for the external structure and attaching
elements of the system allowing the flight testing to commence, the installed control and
power systems to follow.
Spookfish is very pleased with the response of CASA and the FAA in this complex dual-jurisdiction
certification process. There are many people on both sides of the Pacific, both
regulators and consultants, working to ensure this project is moved through the bilateral
approval process between Australia and the United States as quickly as possible.
First test flight take-off
First test flight in progress
First test flight landing