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 prototype and production Corvettes were built.[1]

Design and development

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[4] after the SN 600 crashed on 23 March 1971.[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

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

 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]

On March 19, 1998 a Corvette crashed in Portland, Oregon after the pilots decided to take off with only the portside engine running, while the starboard one was inoperational due to a damaged engine starter. Nobody was injured, while the aircraft suffered damage after only a short flight.[18]

Specifications (SN 601)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77 [19]

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

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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. [1] retrieved on May 8, 2009
  19. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Taylor, John W R. (editor) (1976). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-354-00538-3. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 38.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>