Aérospatiale Corvette

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SN 601 Corvette
Aerospatiale Corvette SN601.jpg
Aérospatiale Corvette
Role Business jet
Manufacturer Aérospatiale
First flight 16 July 1970
Produced 1974 - 1977
Number built 40

The Aérospatiale SN 601 Corvette is a French business jet of the early 1970s, Aérospatiale's only venture into that market. Sales were disappointing, and only 40 Corvettes were built, including prototypes.[1]

Design and development[edit]

Design work began in the second half of the 1960s as a joint venture between Sud Aviation and Nord Aviation. In January 1968 Sud and Nord decided to proceed with the programme after SNECMA announced it was developing a suitable engine, the M49 Larzac.[2] The SN 600 was first shown to the public as a scale model, on display described as the SN 600 Diplomate at the 1968 Hanover ILA Air Show.[3] It was a conventional design for its class, a low-wing monoplane with turbofan engines mounted in rear fuselage nacelles. The prototype SN 600 first flew on 16 July 1970 with two Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15Ds installed; the Larzac was never fitted to the aircraft as it was still in development over a year after the SN 600 crashed on 23 March 1971.[4][1]

The first of two prototype[5] SN 601s (by this time called Corvette 100), with a fuselage 3 ft 5½ in (1.05 m) longer than the SN 600's 41 ft 11½ in[6] (12.79 m), flew for the first time on 20 December 1972.[1] In late 1976 Aérospatiale decided to cease production after the company had only received orders for 27 aircraft in the two-and-a-half years following the type's certification (it had hoped to sell six per month).[1][7] Aérospatiale studied a version with a further fuselage stretch to accommodate 18 seats, to be called the Corvette 200, but SN 601 production ended before any had been built.[1]

Operational history[edit]

SN601 Corvette of Sterling Airways at Brussels Airport in 1985

A number of Corvettes sold were used by French regional airlines Air Alsace, Air Alpes, Air Champagne and TAT.[8][9] Sterling Airways of Denmark also operated the type. One Corvette was used as a VIP transport by the Congolese Air Force.[10] As of January 2009 a small number of Corvettes are still active in Europe and Africa, including one (F-GPLA cn 28) in France fitted out for aerial photography.[11][12] This Corvette was used in the TGV high speed test as a chase vehicle/aircraft.

Airbus Industrie used a fleet of five Corvettes for internal transportation from 1981 to 2009.[13]


SN 600
The first Corvette prototype, powered by two 2,200 lbf (9.8 kN) thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1 turbofan engines.
SN 601
Production version with longer fuselage than SN 600 and 2,500 lb (11.1 kN) thrust JT15D-4 engines.[14] 39 built, including two prototypes.[1]


Aerospatiale SN-601 Corvette[edit]

 Republic of the Congo
 United States
  • Air National Aircraft Sales & Service Inc.
  • Midwest Air Charter (Airborne Express)
  • Jetstar Holland
  • Libyan Air Ambulance
  • Air Inter Gabon
  • Aeromarine
  • Baltic Aviation Inc.


Including the prototype SN 600, a total of eight Corvettes are recorded as having been written-off in crashes.[16] The worst loss of life in a Corvette crash was on 3 September 1979, when an SN 601 of Sterling Airways crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off Nice following a double engine failure. All ten occupants were killed.[17]

Specifications (SN 601)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77 [18]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 760 km/h (410 knots, 472 mph) at 9,000 m (30,000 ft) (max cruise)
  • Cruise speed: 566 km/h (306 knots, 352 mph) at 11,900 m (39,000 ft) (econ cruise)
  • Stall speed: 168 km/h (91 knots, 105 mph) flaps and wheels down
  • Range: 2,555 km (1,380 nmi, 1,588 mi) (econ cruise power, with tip tanks, 45 min reserves)
  • Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 13.7 m/s (2,700 ft/min)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e f Airliners.net Corvette data page retrieved on 17 January 2009.
  2. ^ Flight International magazine, 2 May 1968, p.655.
  3. ^ Flight International magazine, 2 May 1968, p.675.
  4. ^ "Larzac builds up hours", Flight International magazine, 1 June 1972, p.797.
  5. ^ Flight International magazine, 28 March 1974, p.405.
  6. ^ SN 600 Specifications, "Private and Executive Aircraft 1971", Flight International magazine, 2 September 1971, p.360.
  7. ^ Flight International magazine, 27 November 1976, p.1583.
  8. ^ "Feederliner Aircraft", Flight International magazine, 27 March 1975, p.532.
  9. ^ Aérospatiale Corvette print advertisement retrieved on 17 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Force Aerienne Congolaise - World's Air Forces 1998", Flight International magazine, 3 December 1988 p.55.
  11. ^ LAASdata.com list of registered SN-601s retrieved on 20 January 2009. Searches of the Airliners.net photo database show that some of the airframes listed are non-airworthy.
  12. ^ Aerovision web site aerial photography page retrieved on 20 June 2010.
  13. ^ Aerolia Press Release (in French) retrieved on 20 June 2010.
  14. ^ FAA Type Certificate Number A37EU retrieved on 19 January 2009.
  15. ^ Hatch Air Pictorial July 1984, p. 247.
  16. ^ Aviation-Safety.net list of Corvette crashes retrieved on 20 January 2009.
  17. ^ Aviation-Safety.net OY-SBS accident description page retrieved on 20 January 2009.
  18. ^ Taylor 1976, p.38.
  • Hatch, Paul F. (July 1984). "Air Forces of the World: Republic of Mali Air Force (Force Aérienne de la Republique du Mali)". Air Pictorial. Vol. 46 no. 7. p. 247. 
  • Taylor, John W R. (editor) (1976). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-354-00538-3. 
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 38.