Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More WhiteKnightTwo taxi tests

The folks at Scaled Composites took full advantage of yesterday's break between winter storms to bring out WhiteKnightTwo for two sets of taxi tests on Runway 12/30. The emphasis of these appeared to be braking and spoiler operations. Since WK2 will be used as a training platform for SpaceShipTwo, the ability to descend rapidly (essentially duplicating SS2's low lift/drag ratio) is important, so designer Burt Rutan included a spoiler/air brake system that could easily double as barn doors. For the majority of yesterday's tests, the runway runs would start out with the inboard air brakes deployed, and the outboard ones would then be actuated near the end of the run. Since the ability to stop grants the privilege to go, mastering these systems is a major step toward the upcoming first flight of the VirginMotherShip.


Anonymous said...

OHHhh... This is exciting! Can't wait to see it fly (and hear what the pilots think of it)!

Anonymous said...

Forgot to ask... did you take any video? I'd really love to see this bird in motion.

Also, that pitot tube looks new and VERY long. Interesting. And are those vortex generators on the outboard sections of the wings (in front of the ailerons)?

Alan Radecki said...

Video is at, and there will be an additional clip on Discovery Channel Canada's Daily Planet show.

An extra-long pitot is standard for flight test samples virgin air (pun intended) that's undisturbed by the airframe, so that the normal pitots can be calibrated.