posted on Mar, 6 2004 @ 02:30 PM
The company, that is also in competition for the $10 million X Prize, is working on a plane that could fly around the world on a single tank of
On March 5, the Virgin GlobalFlyer flew for the first time, over the Mojave Desert in California.
The maiden mission kicks-off a series of test flights that should culminate in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe with a single pilot, non-stop,
The company is also flight testing SpaceShipOne - a candidate vehicle being test flown to snag the $10 million X Prize purse created to stimulate
passenger-carrying suborbital rocketry.
SpaceShipOne's last flight -- the eighth in a series of shakeout trips - took place December 17 of last year. The vehicle used its hybrid rocket
motor on the first of a sequence of expected powered flights, breaking the sound barrier in the process.
Excellent flying qualities
The Virgin GlobalFlyer - also tagged as Scaled Composites Model 311 -- was piloted by Project Engineer and Test Pilot Jon Karkow. The test hop lasted
one hour and thirty minutes.
After liftoff, the aircraft conducted stability tests and other flight parameters. The craft's tricycle landing gear was retracted and extended and
the effectiveness of the airplane's descent and landing drag chutes was evaluated.
Karkow reported that the airplane had "excellent flying qualities", a Scaled Composites press released stated. All aircraft systems operated well
and the aircraft returned with no maintenance squawks.
Images of the Virgin GlobalFlyer
- Scaled Composites
- Official GlobalFlyer Project website
[Edited on 6-3-2004 by Zion Mainframe]