On Sunday Airventure 2008 drew to a close after a great week with wonderful weather and no rain. Rocket racing aircraft took off with a rocket racing demonstration showing the technology meant to bring excitement back to air racing in this country.
Retired astronaut Rick Searfoss took off in front of a large crowd to demonstrate the modified rocket racing Velocity air frame with a 1500-2000 pound thrust liquid oxygen and kerosene rocket engine attached. With some 22 prior flights Searfoss added several more during Airventure to promote rocket racing which will soon feature a number of aircraft racing side by side. DKNY has signed on as a sponsor of the league and racers are signing up to participate.
Climbing at 18,000 feet per minute there are several pilots in training and next year they promise to bring more excitement to AirVenture 2009 with multiple aircraft flying at the same time. It is expected that there will be more excitement next year.
While the F-22 demonstration and the Red Bull Aerobatic Helicopter show wowed the crowds, rocket racing demonstrated that aviation continues to advance forward. Earlier in the week White Knight Two rolled out and Burt Rutan and Sir Branson announced that space flight is just around the corner.
All in all an excellent week for general aviation and everyone interested in aviation.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!