INDUSTRY AND COMMUNITY NEWS
RANDY BABBITT RESIGNS
A rendering of the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft, which sports a 385-foot wingspan.
IN THE WAKE OF HIS ARREST for driving
while intoxicated, FAA Administrator
Randy Babbitt resigned his position.
Babbitt was charged with DWI by
Fairfax, Virginia, police after they saw
him driving on the wrong side of the road
on December 5. There was no accident,
and Babbitt reportedly was cooperative
throughout the process. Babbitt was
alone in his vehicle; he was released
pending a court action scheduled for
February. No details of the event, such as
his blood alcohol level, have been
released by the police.
Deputy Administrator Michael
Huerta has been named acting FAA
administrator. Babbitt had been in the
post since June of 2009.
Allen, Rutan announce Stratolaunch System
for commercial space launches
BURT RUTAN REUNITED with entrepreneur and philanthropist
Paul G. Allen in Seattle on December 13 to announce what they
called “a revolutionary approach to space transportation: an
air-launch system to provide orbital access to space with
greater safety, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility.” Stratolaunch
Systems, like their SpaceShipOne collaboration seven years
ago, uses a mother ship to lift a vehicle to altitude, release it,
then return to Earth as the launch vehicle rockets into space.
While SS1 was proof of concept, Stratolaunch Systems is a
This project will be a collaboration involving Scaled
Composites, which will build the carrier aircraft; a multistage
booster, manufactured by Space Exploration Technologies
(SpaceX); and a state-of-the-art mating and integration system
built by aerospace engineering leader Dynetics. First flight of
the carrier aircraft is envisioned in 2015.
The carrier aircraft will be the largest aircraft ever built,
with a wingspan of 385 feet, dwarfing the 211 feet of a Boeing
747-400. The carrier has a twin fuselage like Virgin Galactic’s
WhiteKnight Two with a large spar between them to which the
launch vehicle attaches. Six 747 engines will propel its more
than 1. 2 million pounds gross weight up to 1,300 nautical miles.
JETMAN FLIES FORMATION
WITH L- 39 ALBATROSES
CHALK UP ANOTHER FIRST for Yves Rossy,
better known as Jetman. Rossy, who
wears a jet-powered carbon fiber wing
and flies like a bird, flew in formation with
from the Breitling
Jet Team over the
Jetman’s previous firsts include
flying over the
with the Breitling Wingwalkers aboard a
pair of Stearman biplanes, flying loops
around a hot air balloon, and, most
recently, soaring over the Grand Canyon.
According to Breitling’s report, Rossy
rode a helicopter to altitude in Switzerland,
jumped off, ignited the four jet engines,
then joined up with the two L-39s for several minutes of formation flying. He
controls his trajectory and altitude through
body movements until, when ready to land,
he parachutes safely to the ground.
For a link to the EAA Sport Aviation
cover story on Rossy in the March 2011
issue, go to www.SportAviation.org.