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NTSB Report on VG Crash Released


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Just a heads up, for those of us who believe the only future spaceflight is to have for the foreseeable future is the commercial sector:




It's pretty much the usual NTSB "Pilot Error" result, sadly...



Had a thought...then there was the smell of something burning, and sparks, and then a big fire, and then the lights went out! I guess I better not do that again!

Sgt, USMC, 10 years proud service, Inactive reserve now :D

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It's pretty much the usual NTSB "Pilot Error" result, sadly...Pat☺


Well it was pilot error. From the NTSB's Executive Summary:


The Probable Cause of this accident was the copilot’s unlocking of SpaceShipTwo’s feather locks at 0.92 Mach, approximately 14 seconds prior to the flight manual minimum speed of 1.4 Mach.


Although normal checklist procedures maintained the feather locks in the locked position until after obtaining a minimum speed of 1.4 Mach, the mishap copilot prematurely unlocked the system at approximately 0.92 Mach.

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An unfortunate instance of design oversight compunded by human error while exploring a previously unexplored aviation frontier...but I guess it is more the rule than the exception. This disaster in my opinion is comparable to the disasters associated with aviation pioneers like the metal fatigue issues leading to the DeHavilland Comet 1 crashes in the 1950s and the 1980s crash of an early model A320 during a demonstration flight at an airshow due to imperfections in the FBW. I feel that incidents like these are primarily a result of design oversight, which compounded with human and other factors, results in tragic loss of life. But at the same time they also help the industry to evolve and refine their products to make them safer and more reliable for the benefit of future generations. I, for one, am highly optimistic about the future of space exploration and hope that in the not-too-distant future, we commoners will be able to fly through space with the ease with which we can nowadays book airline tickets on a low cost carrier and hop aboard an aircraft to fly to any destination of our choice.
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