Reply to post: Re: Over-Speed lock

Virgin 'spaceship' pilot 'unlocked tailbooms' going through sound barrier

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Over-Speed lock

"The tail feathering is designed to operate at ludicrous speed,"

Mach 1 in thin air is going to have vastly higher aerodynamic pressures than mach 1.5 in "virtually no air at all" (At that altitude, the whole concept of "mach" is nebulous anyway. Sound doesn't travel because molecules aren't close enough to interact, so how does it have a speed?)

The question is why the feathering mechanism was unlocked _at all_ whilst thrust was still active. There's plenty of time to feather whilst the craft is travelling ballistically upwards after the rocket cuts out, so unlocking early makes no sense whatsoever as a procedural step.

I do have faith that the NTSB will get to the bottom of the problem and its root causes - as others have said the real issue isn't that "the tail feathered under thrust", it's how it happened and how designs allowed it to happen which are of more interest.

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