ABOVE: The R and S models seen together in the sky for the first time
Aura Aero, French manufacturer of the Integral aircraft family, has resumed the flight test programme of its Integral R variant 19 months after a fatal crash paused proceedings.
One of three models in the next-generation, aerobatically-capable two-seat aircraft family, the R variant features a tailwheel configuration (unlike the Integral S, which is fitted with tricycle landing gear). A third model, the E, will be powered by an electric motor and will be available in either gear configuration.
Although the Integral R made its inaugural flight in 2020, flight test certification testing was paused following a fatal crash in April 2022 which destroyed the prototype and claimed the lives of both pilots on board, Baptiste Vignes and Simon de la Bretèche.
The S model received EASA authorization to commence its flight test campaign in April of this year, and before its maiden flight, its test pilots Herve Poulin and Eric Delesalle observed a minutes’ silence to honour their fallen friends.
Powered by a Lycoming engine and driven my a constant-speed, two-blade MT propellor, the Integral R will have a cruising speed of 150kts and a range of 530nm. EASA and FAA certification is expected from 2024.
IMAGE: AURA AERO