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back to article Branson rocket piggyback plane has control 'issue' - report

The "mothership" intended to carry beardy biz kingpin Richard Branson's planned space tourism rocketplanes to launch altitude has hit technical problems, according to reports. The WhiteKnightTwo on show to the public Prone to fishtailing? The WhiteKnightTwo high altitude jetplane, which has already carried out its first …

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Boffin

This report is a puzzling bit on non-news.

The whole purpose of test flights is to see how the plane behaves, gather data, and tweak the design depending on what that data tells you. The plane did not crash, so clearly nothing catastrophic occurred. Sounds pretty normal.

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IT Angle

Problem found in test flight?

Er, that's what test flights are for. I recall that SpaceShip One also got a tail redesign as a result of flight testing.

It'll only be an issue if some daft planning type has got it scheduled to go straight from testing to production without allowing some time for going over the test findings and fixing the problems found in testing (What do you mean you thought there wouldn't be any? WTF did you schedule the testing for then?). Anyone that shite gets out of aeronautics and into IT consultancy* where they belong real quick.

Move along, nothing to see here.

*For the angle, of course.

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The test flight showed up a problem?

In other news:

Pope is Catholic

Bears sh** in woods

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Joke

All this waterfall design-then-test stuff is very old school

Clearly we'd be better off with an agile approach to aircraft development. "As a pilot I want to not die in a flaming ball of jet fuel and shattered composite." Might take a few iterations to pass QA, mind, but ultimately that has the beneficial NFR of whittling down the wage overheads on the flight roster.

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Rob
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Unhappy

@Fredd

You missed off Virgin Holidays (particular vehemence against them seeing as we nearly had to take them to small claims until they settled out of court, barstards the lot of 'em gggrrrrrr).

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Surely that's the point behind testing?

Locate a problem, work out what's causing it and then devise a 'cure'.

Has there been any aircraft that has flown perfectly and hasn't been changed over the course of it's lifetime.

sigh - non-news.

ttfn

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Boffin

Aerodynamics, still part black art, not all science (yet)

Increasing the size of the fin/rudder or tailplane/elevators is not uncommon during the development of an aircraft to improve controllability and response in yaw or pitch respectively. The more work you do up front, the less likely it is that changes are needed. The A380 has a massive rudder in comparison to the airframe, clearly Airbus did enough work to determine the need for this truly massive slab of metal.

Scaled Composites aren't exasctly Boeing or Airbus so I'd be impressed if a simple scaled-up airframe needed no tweaks at all.

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Coat

It has to be said......

.....Virgin on the ridiculous.

Mines the one with the award for stating the bleedin' obvious in the pocket

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Coat

Consider a name change

Maybe they could consider changing the name of the aircraft from WhiteKnight to WhiteKnuckle

Mines the one with the change of underware in the pocket

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@Gulfie

Can't agree more, though I have to be pedantic and say that the A380's empennage is composite.

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Happy

So...

Anyone willing to go up in one then?

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Go

@ Paul Hartley

Have you copyrighted "underware" yet?

I feel a whole new computing concept coming on

I will redefine the O/S as underware, applications as overware, lappys (yes I said lappys) would run on outdoorware, accounting programmes on cookware, Firewalls would of course be rubberware

Penguins would get skiware and the apple equivalent would probably be tupperware - oh hang on - thats a real ware ....

Anyway

2) PROFIT!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

5 Hours?

What? You have to stop for 5 hours halfway up?

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Happy

@Colin Millar

Shouldn't that be

3) Profit!

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Unhappy

NEWSFLASH!

Experimental Aircraft found to have minor control issues on first test flight!

NO FLIGHT PLAN WAS FILED!

Air Safety Authorities have grounded ALL aircraft, balloons, rockets, the Space Shuttle, and even bungy-jumpers everywhere, until an investigation into why a new design had a minor control issue on it's first flight can be carried out.

"We cannot take any risks with people's safety" an Important Government Official said today "People would live forever were it not for scientific and engineering failures like this. It is the Government's and Lawyer's resposibilty to make sure that everyone, everywhere is protected from ANY harm of ANY kind at ALL times. Except if they live in Africa, they don't count'"

Pictures at 11.

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Happy

@Colin Millar

Nice one! Next time I do a spec for some non-English-speaking clients, I'll slip underware in there somewhere as if it's standard language for driver-level code. :)

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Black Helicopters

Re: Surely that's the point behind testing?

> Has there been any aircraft that has flown perfectly and hasn't been changed over the course of

> it's lifetime.

I could tell, but then I´d have to send someone kill you.

AC & black helicopter, obviously.

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Happy

@Dave Ross

If you're paying........

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Pirate

Cavalier Space Cowboys

Ask google how many people have died in Burt Rutan designed craft ('rutan accidents' = 46 dead in one type of Rutan aircraft alone - the VariEze.)

Remember, they won the xprize after only two non-fatal flights. However subsequent testing resulted in the deaths of 3 ground crew after a fuel explosion. The list of fallen grows and grows.

Personally, I'm in no rush to hop aboard SpaceCrash Two with Virgin IntheAtlantic for a ten-second sub-orbital spin which I have a less than 50-50 chance of surviving.

If Rutan was a drug, he'd be withdrawn from the market.

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