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Jet Packs Not For You? Then Strap On An X-Racer!

by John M. White |

Out in the Mojave desert at the Mojave Airport (also known as the Mojave Air and Space Port) the civilian version of secret aircraft and spacecraft development takes place in competition with the military's secret Area 51.  One of the interesting companies out there is XCOR Aerospace who are developing, among other things, the X-Racers.

These aircraft are the evolution of the EZ Rocket based upon an airframe provided by Velocity Aircraft in Florida.  The airframe is modified to carry a 1,500 pound thrust rocket engine which burns LOX (liquid oxygen) and kerosene.  Designed to eliminate the need to pressurize the belly tank which holds the fuel the aircraft features a bright kerosene burning plume as it streaks across the sky.

With an empty weight of 1,500 pounds and propellant weighing 1,500 pounds the first generation Mark-1 X-Racers scream along at 230 mph limited not by power but airframe limitations. After approximately 3 1/2 minutes of powered flight the aircraft can continue with unpowered flight for another 15 minutes, allowing the aircraft to take 8 or 9 laps around the pylons, then land dead-stick for a 5 to 10 minute pit stop before resuming its race.

To involve spectators in the action hot air balloons, chase planes and cockpit cameras will relay the action to a video feed for fans with a virtual race track superimposed onto the display, much like the heads-up displays in fighter jet aircraft.

For those interested you can see a static test video at wired.com, and get more information on this exiting new sport at Rocket Racing League.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!

JetAviator7

For once you have tasted flight
you will walk the earth
with your eyes turned skywards,
for there you have been
and there you will long to return. -- Leonardo da Vinci

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