Friday, November 11, 2011

Video, Rafale catapult trials at Lakehurst

Back to the nineties ! Here is a very interesting video from the French TV show "Pegase". We are in October 1995  and the Rafale team has moved to Lakehurst, USA, to perform the 4th catapult and arresting cable trial campaign with heavy loads. In the Video, we can see the Rafale M01 captapulted with 2 full 2000L external fuel tanks (total weight: 19.2 metric tons). For safety reasons, those external tanks were filled with water to be droped before landing (as seen at the end of the video)

Lakehurst NAES, New jersey, is the only western facility equiped for land based catapult trials. The Rafale M01 did 4 trial campaigns at Lakehurst (one in 1992, 2 in 1993 and one in 1995). Then the M02 (2nd Rafale M prototype) started the sea trials on the Foch French aircraft carrier (now, Sao Paulo, in service in the Brazilian Navy)

At 1min40, we can see the most famous Eric Gerard, Dassault test pilot and former French Navy pilot who performed, with his collegue Yves Kerhervé, these early Rafale M trials (sweat 90s style pullover BTW :) )

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