Video: Scorpion Jet Gets Ready for First Flight

Textron AirLand's tactical jet completes taxi tests.

Textron, the parent company of Cessna, is moving fast on the development of its sexy straight-wing military twinjet, the Scorpion, which surprised the world with its emergence earlier this year. As evidenced by the following video, Scorpion test pilots have completed the first taxi tests and are getting close to taking the airplane to the skies. The last high speed taxi tests were completed today at the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, according to Dale Tutt, chief engineer of the Scorpion program.

"All systems performed, as expected, very well," Tutt said. "We had smiling pilots and we always consider that a good thing."

The Scorpion project is a joint venture of Textron and AirLand Enterprises, under a newly formed LLC conveniently called Textron AirLand. The object of the Scorpion is to create a very versatile yet affordable tactical jet. Possible missions for the Scorpion include border security, counter narcotics missions and humanitarian relief.

With a useful load greater than 9,500 pounds, the airplane can carry 6,000 pounds of fuel, giving it a range of around 2,400 nautical miles. The remaining payload will enable the Scorpion to carry a lot of precision and non-precision munitions, communications equipment or whatever the mission may require.

Textron AirLand claims the airplane's Honeywell TFE731 turbofan engines will exceed 8,000 pounds of thrust, giving the Scorpion a projected max speed of 450 knots and the ability to climb as high as 45,000 feet. The company expects the all-composite airframe to have a service life of 20,000 hours.

The video makes the small tandem-seat jet appear nimble on the ground and the Scorpion had no trouble making a quick 180-degree turn on McConnell's runway. The pilots would have undoubtedly preferred to lift off, something they are bound to do very soon.

Also check out this explosive footage of the Scorpion Jet Ejection Seat Test.

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