The first ATR 42-600 made its first flight at Toulouse on March 4, kicking off a 75 hour flight test campaign ahead of the type’s expected entry into service in 2011.
The two hour maiden flight saw the aircraft undergo tests of the engines, avionics, hydraulics and electrical systems, as well as blade balancing.
The flight of the smaller ATR 42-600 comes after the larger ATR 72-600 made its first flight in July 2009. Compared to the previous -500 models, the upgraded -600 features a new integrated avionics suite from Thales, upgraded Pratt & Whitney PW127M engines and an upgraded cabin interior. So far, ATR has recorded orders for five ATR 42-600s and 54 ATR 72-600s.