April 25, 2006: Iraqi Air Force Comp Air 7SLX Flew First Test Flight

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

An Iraqi Air Force Comp Air 7SLX, a six-seat, kit-built experimental aircraft, which a combined team from Edwards, Robins Air Force Base, GA, Hill AFB, UT and Tinker AFB, OK had spent two months preparing, stripping down, rebuilding and testing, made its first test flight at Edwards as part of the effort to get the Iraqi Air Force flying again.

In 2005 and 2006 the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) evaluated the Comp Air 7SLX (CA-7) aircraft in support of U.S. Central Command and the Iraqi Air Force. While deployed to Kirkuk Air Base (AB), Iraq, personnel from AFFTC and 412th Test Wing (412 TW) at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, and other units assigned to Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) faced hardships and dangers not usually encountered in flight test, as well as fundamental problems in accomplishing the project in a combat zone. As 412th Operations Group (412 OG) deputy commander Lieutenant Colonel David Nils Larson observed, there was “no such thing as combat flight test.” A U.S. Air Force pilot could log a combat sortie or a flight test sortie, not both simultaneously. Combat flight test was ultimately what the CA-7 project became.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) provided seven CA-7 aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force in 2004. As an experimental 2 aircraft, also known as a homebuilt or kitplane, the CA-7 was built from a kit provided by the manufacturer, Aero Comp Inc., which customarily built no more than 49 percent of the kitplane. Their customers completed the rest. The high-wing, six-seat composite aircraft was powered by a Walter M601 657 horsepower turboprop engine. The engine, manufactured in the Czech Republic, was similar in design to the Pratt and Whitney PT6. The aircraft was configured with an after-market tricycle landing gear fitted with the nose strut from a Cessna 310. The UAE had made numerous other modifications


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