Saturday, July 6, 2013

Philippine Aircraft Research & Development: a brief outline

Here's a brief history of aircraft research and development in outline form. This was published in The Aero Engineer, December 2006. This needs to be updated though.

Brief Outline of the History of Local Aircraft Research, Development and Manufacture in the Philippines

By Engr. Ernesto B. Ferreras Jr.

February 21, 1911 – First flight of Skylark, the first aircraft to conquer the Philippine


First Period: 1938 – 1949

Began with the birth of the local aviation industry in 1931, with the start of the operation of two local air transport companies – Philippine Aerial Transport Taxi Co. and Iloilo-Negros Air Express Co.

Dominant player was Feati University.

1938 – Flight of Snipe light aircraft, the first Filipino aircraft, designed and built by Dr.
Gregorio Zara.

1948 – Flight of the first locally designed glider, built by Feati University.

1949 – Feati completed an all-wood sports airplane.

Second Period: 1951 – 1956

Key players were Institute of Science and Technology and Philippine Air Force. They began a collaboration that resulted into several X series of experimental aircraft.

1951 – The Institute of Science and Technology (IST) implemented Commonwealth Act

1953 – Flight of XL-14 Maya, designed by Antonio de Leon, an aeronautical engineer.


Flight of the XL-10B Balang (Grasshopper) powered glider, a joint project of
IST and Philippine Air Force (PAF) Air Research and Development Authority

October 1954 – Flight of the XL-15 Tagak (Heron).


1956 – Completion of the XL-17 Musang (Wildcat) sports plane and light trainer; never

Third Period: 1973 – 1976

January 15, 1973 – PAF reactivated ARDA into Self-Reliance Development Wing
(SRDW), subsequently called Air Force Research and Development Center (AFRDC).

September 10, 1973 – Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC) was
established by virtue of PD 286.

1974 – PADC started assembling BO-105 helicopters and BN Islanders in agreement
with Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) of Germany and Fairey Britten-Norman
(FBN) of England, respectively.

PADC-assembled BO-105

PADC-assembled BN-Islander

October 1974 – Flight of Glider I, designed and built by AFRDC.

May 1975 – Flight of Glider II.

May 21, 1975 – Flight of the XT-001 Marko I light trainer, designed and built by

AFRDC XT-001 Marko

February 1976 – Flight of Glider III.

May 2, 1976 – Flight of the first Hovercraft, by AFRDC.

Fourth Period: 1976 – 1991

November 8, 1976 – The Philippine government bought the Super Pinto (Cali)
prototype, including design and manufacturing rights.

1978 – Flight of the modified L-4J Piper Cub, assembled by PATTS College of Aeronautics,                 using 100% alcogas as fuel.

1981 – The PAF decided to replace T-33As and T-28Ds.

1984 – The PAF recommended purchase of SIAI Marchetti S211 jet aircraft and SF 260
Turboprop Warriors as replacement for its ageing fleet.

February 22, 1988 – First flight of the Defiant 300, designed and built by Gold Wings

Gold Wings Defiant 300

1988 – Flight of Lancair 320, assembled in the Philippines by Aviation Composite
Technology (ACT) in a venture with Aerotech S.A. of Switzerland.

May 1988 – Flight of RPX-25, modified version of L-4J, built by PATTS College of

PATTS-modified RP-X25 L-4J

1990 – Flight of Skyfox (RPX-44), the Philippine version of Kitfox, assembled by the
Philippine Aircraft Company, Inc. (PACI) in agreement with Denney Aerocraft of
the U.S.A.

PACI RP-X44 Skyfox

1990 – PADC started assembling S 211s, followed by SF 260 TPWs and SF 600
Canguro in agreement with SIAI Marchetti of Italy.

PADC-assembled S211 jet

PAF AFRDC-modified SF-260 TP

1990 – Prime Parts Fabricators & Development Corporation (PPFDC) built prototypes of
P-2000 Hovercraft with technical expertise from foreign hovercraft companies
and the Hovercraft Prototyping Project Team of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

1991 – Pacific Aeronautical, the new name of ACT relocated to Cebu City started
producing airframes for Lancair 320 and Lancair IV, the new higher-powered,
four-seat version.

1991 – PADC started assembling Lancair IVs and Lancair ESs ordered by the Philippine
National Police (PNP).

Fifth Period: 1996 – Present

1996Aircraft Research and Development (ARD) 2000 Project was set up and
completed a project feasibility study on the possibility of manufacturing a 9-
seater utility aircraft.
ARD 2000

May 8, 1998 – Flight of the Hummingbird, the first Filipino-built helicopter prototype,
designed and built by PADC. PADC also designed and assembled Centennial
(RPX-100); never flown.

PADC RP-X100 Centennial

1 comment:

  1. Funding lang talaga and the WILL of those in govt. which stops us. Producing a cheap, low performance Multi-Role Fighter may not stand a chance against the big Boys (F18, J10, j20, MIGs, F22, F16, Typhoon, eurofighter, Mirage, F35, JAS39, etc, but if built in sheer numbers can overwhelm any Airforce. Take for example, WWII Germany, it built a particular Fighter numbering well above 30,000 fighters! To defeat long range detection by enemy aircraft, using advance AUVs with powerful radars may be an option to relay position of incoming enemy aircraft to our low profile MRFs. The MRFs should be armed with long range missiles though, to match the enemy. Dogfights with visual range, will even the field at some point, to even the fighting field. Then there is a chance a high-tech airforce could be defeated by sheer numbers.