Friday, at the Space Access conference in Phoenix, Arizona, XCOR
Aerospace announced it has received a Reusable Launch Vehicle
mission license from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space
Transportation (AST). The license, which is the first for a
reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that is launched and recovered from
the ground, will be used to test RLV technologies prior to
suborbital passenger travel.
The Kinder, Simpler, MORE Affordable Diamond Four Seater (Part
As noted in Part One of this series, Diamond Aircraft was kind
enough to throw caution to the wind and send their only prototype
DA40-180-FP to Winter Haven, FL, to let me beat it up a little bit
and see if the concept of a kinder/simpler DA40 had promise.
Diamond's Mike Skoczen was either in the dog house back home,
or had lost a bet, and so was selected to suffer the
indignities of having to fly with me. Skoczen briefed me well on
the plane prior to our flight and a walk-around inspection revealed
some interesting details.
NTSB Recommends Rigorous Maintenance Programs For Firefighting
The NTSB has issued recommendation letters to the Department of
Agriculture, the Department of Interior and to the FAA regarding
maintenance programs for aircraft used in fire fighting operations.
The recommendations are part of a package that includes probable
causes for three air tanker accidents caused by in-flight wing
separations resulting from fatigue fractures.
The Staggerwing Museum Foundation is expanding its range of
Beechcraft product displays with the groundbreaking of a new
Bonanza-Baron Museum. The planned 86,400-square-foot facility will
be built in stages, with a 9,000-square-foot hangar completed in
2004 as the first phase. The museum will be located on a 2
�-acre site adjacent to the Olive Ann Beech Chapel and the
existing Staggerwing Museum. It will operate as a division of the
Staggerwing Museum Foundation.
"This license means we only have to
seek approval for significant changes that materially affect the
safety of the uninvolved public... Our goal is for RLV
developers to conduct test flights with the flexibility and ease of
development normally associated with experimental aircraft. The
terms of this license represent significant progress towards this
goal. It is helpful that RLV companies can obtain their launch
licenses during vehicle design, prior to committing capital to
build a vehicle."
Source: XCOR CEO Jeff Greason, on
the occasion of their having received an FAA launch license for
futher aerospace flight testing.