Contractor air service provider Tactical Air Support Inc has completed Airworthiness Certification work for its F-5E/F fleet, with FAA Certification of aircraft N791TA on April 25, 2018, and completed the mandatory follow-on Phase 1 flight test hours at Jacksonville International Airport on April 27. The end state is to ensure the aircraft is controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and throughout all maneuvers to be executed, has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features, and is safe for operation.
While TacAir has completed Airworthiness Certification on other F-5 models, this is the first of the recently imported Royal Jordanian Air Force F-5E/F fleet. After completing reassembly, rigging, inspection and paint at Northrop Grumman, and final modifications from TacAir maintenance, aircraft N791TA, completed one ground test event and six Functional Check Flights. The flights were designed to build up from ‘first flight gear down only’ to execution of a full ‘A’ card functional check flight. All basic aircraft performance, flight control, and handling qualities were examined throughout the entire performance envelope including 50,000 feet and 1.5 Mach. All installed avionics were checked for proper operation.
Test pilot, Zach Mosedale reported: ‘This is a great flying jet. In 2,500 hours of F-5 flight, these are possibly the strongest engines I’ve seen.’
Following completion of the certification process, the F-5E/F fleet will relocate to TacAir’s West Coast facility at Reno-Stead Airport in Reno, Nevada where they will undergo further avionics upgrades to transform into 21st century adversary air platforms for TacAir’s Commercial Air Services support to USAF operational test, training and tactics development squadrons.
As noted by CEO, RC Thompson: ‘This Phase I flight test clearly validates our decision to operate the F-5. TA-01 had not flown in over five years, yet the airplane just flew six sorties and 10 hours in a day and a half, with no discrepancies. With this certification process now completed we can quickly return the remaining 20 of our F-5E/F fleet back to certified flight status.’