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ATR 42-600 Begins Test Flight Campaign

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The ATR 42-600 pre-series aircraft successfully took to the sky for the first time on Thursday. The aircraft, powered with Pratt & Whitney 127M engines, took off from Toulouse, France at 3.00 pm and completed a 2-hour flight, which marks the launch of a flight test campaign of approximately 75 hours.

 Among other checks, the aircraft underwent tests regarding performance of the engines and well-functioning of its specifically developed new avionics, which integrates the newest computer systems and software for navigational aids, flight data recording, automatic piloting and communications. Pilots also tested hydraulic and electrical systems and blades balancing.

The high degree of commonality between the ATR 72 and the ATR 42 will enable the ATR 42-600 to benefit from certain tests completed by the ATR 72-600, whose 150-hour flight campaign started in July 2009. Both ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 will entry into service in 2011.

“The first flight of the ATR 42-600 culminates the dedication and strong efforts of our team and our partners in order to prepare this new aircraft for its flight test campaign,” said Stéphane Mayer, ATR’s Chief Executive Officer. “With the ATR 42-600, we are proud to develop a new aircraft that has been specifically designed to optimally match the 50-seat regional market requirements, both in terms of comfort and performance”. He concluded: “It is our aim to propose our customers with aircraft featuring the most advanced technologies and we are convinced that the new ATR ‘-600 series’ programme will strongly contribute to consolidate our worldwide success and leadership.”

Launched in October 2007, the new ATR ‘-600’ series follows its development phase according to the schedule planned for both aircraft types. To date, ATR has recorded firm orders for 59 of these aircraft (5 ATR 42-600s and 54 ATR 72-600s).

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