With the certification, the aircraft is now cleared to operate at any commercial airfield worldwide and deliveries can commence. While the first delivery to launch operator Pallas Aviation had been expected by year-end 2019, Lockheed now expects the first delivery to occur next year, according to a release from the company.
Since May of this year, joint FAA/Lockheed Martin flight crews worked through the final phases of Federal Aviation Administration-specific flight tests. These tests involved flying the aircraft outside of daylight hours, and to airports at high elevations, such as Colorado Springs (COS) or Laramie (LAR) – both of which are well above 2,000 meters above sea level – to mimic the rugged conditions through which operators are expected to put the aircraft.
As for orders, Texas-based Pallas Aviation has firm-ordered five units, and Lockheed previously announced tentative commitments from Ireland-based ASL Aviation Group and Brazil-based Bravo Industries.
Compared to the legacy L-100, the LM-100J outperforms on a number of metrics:
- 14% more fuel-efficient
- 20% improvement in payload/range capability
- Automated maintenance fault reporting
- Fully CNS/ATM compliant with the FAA Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)
- Enhanced Cargo Handling (ECHS) system
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