Monday, July 4, 2011

Rafale A, first flight 25th anniversary

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Rafale A first flight.
The Plane took off from the Istres Air Base, piloted By Dassault test pilot Guy Mitaux-Maurouard on July 4th 1986. During this flight, which lasted 1 hour, the Rafale A reached mach 1.32, at 36,000 ft, performing maneuvers up to 5G.

Guy Mitaux-Maurouard talking about this day :
"The first Rafale flight for me... well, my first impression was like being back some years ago, during my first solo the military Air school. It was a small twin seater prop-plane and the second seat was empty... Here I was, alone. It was exactly that kind of impression : You're alone, get your ass in gear !
Except that, in a Rafale, during its maiden flight, you are alone in the plane, but with a lot of people behind you: All the engineers who have designed the aircraft systems, checking every parameters and alarms, vibrations and abnormal heating... Eventually, the pilot is more at ease than all these people !

Once the aircraft [Rafale] was in the air... ha ! , It was different ! The plane was on a rail !"

At the end of the flight, after a landing course of no more than 500m, Mitaux declared to Jean-Claude Hironde, Dassault technical director : " It's worked as in the books !"

Nowadays, this beautifull white bird is preserved at the Air&Space museum at Le Bourget airfield near Paris. It has been completely restored and is displayed next to its big brother, the Mirage 4000.

Sources :
Dassault Aviation - Memoires, Guy Mitaux-Maurouard
Rafale, la veritable histoire - Germain Chambost
Rafale, les ailes du futur - Fran├žois Robineau

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