AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Rutan conducted the initial flight testing of the rocket plane in the summer of 2001. Rutan has made 16 flights in the aircraft. The rocket engines on the aircraft will burn for about two minutes. During the flight, Rutan will bring the plane up to an altitude of about 12,000 feet. “Hopefully I’ll be close to Cal City when they (the rocket engines) do burn out,” Rutan said. “I hope it goes routine, but it is a horse of a different color. It is a rocket system.” The aircraft is being used by XCOR to develop technologies for routine, safe, reliable and cheap rocket propulsion for aircraft. “When we first asked Dick to be our test pilot, we had no money at the time,” said XCOR spokeswoman Aleta Jackson. “We told him we would put him in the record books. This is our thank you to Dick Rutan.” There is no record for a rocket plane in the EZ-Rocket’s weight class, which is for an airplane between 500 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms, or 1,100 to 2,200 pounds. There was a flight of 122 feet that was made by a rocket-powered plane that weighed under 300 kilograms, said Art Greenfield of the National Aeronautic Association. The NAA will have an observer on hand for Saturday’s flight. If the NAA approves the record, it will be submitted for recognition by the Federation Aeronautique International as a world record, Greenfield said. Rutan is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who drew international attention when he and co-pilot Jeana Yeager flew the Voyager aircraft around the world in 1986. The flight was the first nonstop, unrefueled around-the-world trip. XCOR is also trying to line up another first – the first rocket-powered delivery of mail. The company is proposing to deliver mail bound from Mojave to California City, but those arrangements are still pending. The aircraft will carry a small packet of mementos for XCOR workers. Plans call for keeping the aircraft at the California City Airport at least through Dec. 10, when a Toys for Tots campaign will be held at the facility. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MOJAVE – Dick Rutan, who got into the record books by flying around the world in 1986, is scheduled to make another record-setting flight – this time a hop of about 11 miles. Rutan is scheduled to fly XCOR’s EZ-Rocket aircraft on Saturday from the Mojave Airport to the California City Airport, setting a point-to-point record for a rocket-powered aircraft. “It will be the shortest long-distance flight record,” Rutan said. “I have a lot of records, but I don’t have one in a rocket-powered aircraft.” The EZ-Rocket is a modified Long-EZ, a popular kit plane designed by Rutan’s brother Burt. The airplane is powered by two 400-pound thrust rocket engines.
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