Thursday, June 20, 2024

100% Mexican-designed and built plane takes its maiden flight, makes history

The first 100% Mexican built and designed plane completed its first official flight on Monday as its manufacturer seeks to have its airworthiness certified.

José Javier Barbosa Castro piloted the Halcón 2 two-seater light-sport aircraft during its maiden flight, which departed the airport in Celaya, Guanajuato, at midday. The historic flight was the first of 50 the aircraft must complete in order to obtain a type certificate signifying its airworthiness.

Officials with the Federal Civil Aviation Agency, which is responsible for assessing airworthiness, were on hand to watch the plane taking off as was Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo.

“What we’re going to obtain after the flight cycles is type approval, which is the first step,” said Giovanni Angelucci, CEO of Horizontec, the manufacturer of the Halcón 2.

“[After that] we’re going to get definitive registration, which is the second step, … and the most important document, which is the airworthiness certificate. With the airworthiness certificate [the Halcón 2] will be able to travel throughout the country and we’ll be able to start manufacturing it for sale,” he said.

Angelucci announced in February that Horizontec was investing more than US $10 million in a new plant at the Celaya airport where the Halcón 2 will be made. He said at the time that the carbon fiber aircraft, which measures seven meters in length and has a wingspan of 9.4 meters, is apt for pilot training, recreational flights and aerial surveillance. It has a Rotax 915 engine and runs on premium automobile gasoline, which reduces costs.

Production is expected to commence in September once the Halcón 2 is fully certified to fly in Mexican airspace. Angelucci envisions making up to 20 planes per year and employing 140 people.

“This is our new home,” the CEO said in reference to the Horizontec plant at the Celaya airport. “We’re finishing it and I believe we’re going to … start bringing our machinery in a couple of days or weeks,” Angelucci said. “… I believe that we’ll be able to begin production in September.”

Horizontec has already reached an agreement to supply 18 Halcón 2 planes to a Guanajuato flight school. The price of the aircraft will be in the range of US $120,000 to $160,000.

“This is the first Mexican plane from conception, it’s important to emphasize that,” said Óscar Rodríguez, president of the Bajío Aerospace Cluster, a group of 13 companies including Horizontec. “It was conceived with pen and paper … and today the first official flight takes off,” he said.

With reports from Milenio and Publimetro

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