June 24, 2002

Toyota successfully completes 1st test flight of small aircraft

Tokyo, Japan – Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has successfully completed the first test flight of an experimental aircraft built to verify small aircraft technology in a joint project with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS).

TMC and TMS commissioned the roughly one-hour test flight, conducted in the vicinity of California’s Mojave Airport on May 31, local time (June 1 JST), to U.S.-based Scaled Composites, LLC, which has a well-established experimental-flight track record. The test was part of TMC-TMS research to examine whether Toyota’s aerodynamics and low-cost production technologies could be applied to the small aircraft sector.

The aircraft used in the flight was a four-seat, single-engine piston plane fitted with an engine produced by an outside manufacturer. Its fuselage, consisting of a one-piece co-cured (single-moulded) unit of a carbon fibre and resin composite material, is aimed at achieving excellent aerodynamic and cost performance when compared to conventional small aircraft. TMC and TMS plan additional test flights to complete a series of technological evaluations.

Based on technology accumulated through its auto manufacturing experience, Toyota plans to continue with similar research in the area of personal aviation, with the aim of making contributions to general aviation technology.

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