Aerospatiale Epsilon
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Aerospatiale Epsilon

In September 1978 first details were given of the Aerospatiale TB-30 piston-engined trainer, designed in collaboration with the Armee de l'Air to meet a new need for a light trainer able to weed out pupils before starting basic flying training on the: jet Air Fouga-Potez Magister.

Like several other air forces this move is a response to rising costs, and the TB-30, subsequently renamed Epsilon, is a simple and robust tandem two-seater whose design has been steadily refined by the Aerospatiale aircraft division over a period of several years. Features include a metal airframe with a life in the military training role of not less than 10,000 hours, a cockpit resembling that of a jet combat aircraft, and equipment for full basic flying training, including aerobatic, instrument, night, formation, navigation, combat manoeuvres and VFR/IFR navigation. Later it is probable that liaison (four-seat) and tactical attack versions will be marketed.

The first of two prototypes flew on 22 December 1977, but the programme was then delayed by the need to redesign the wingtips, lower the tail-plane and add a ventral fin to cure highspeed pitch and yaw instability.

The French air force requires between 100 and 150 Epsilons, deliveries beginning in 1982 from SOCATA, the Aerospatiale subsidiary at Tarbes. An order for 18 was received from the Portuguese air force, these being assembled locally by OGMA.

 MODELAerospatiale Epsilon
 ENGINE1 x Avco Lycoming AE10-540-K flat-six engine, 224kW
    Take-off weight1190 kg2624 lb
    Empty weight870 kg1918 lb
    Wingspan7.90 m26 ft 11 in
    Length7.60 m25 ft 11 in
    Height2.70 m9 ft 10 in
    Wing area9.0 m296.88 sq ft
    Max. speed355 km/h221 mph
    Ceiling6100 m20000 ft
    Range1300 km808 miles
 ARMAMENT480kg of weapons

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