Re: meat aboard the roton
Steve VanSickle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 26 May 1999 08:53:02 -0500 (CDT)
Look over the paper
Safety and the Roton Development Program, IEEE 99-063 445
It gives an overview of the developement program and
covers their reasoning behind a manned vehicle.
Short story is:
- If you look at all types of aircraft, manned systems are
orders of magnitude more reliable than unmanned as well as being
cheaper to develope.
- The Roton is aerodynamically stable in all flight regimes,
so it is possible for all abort situations to be flown manually.
This is *much* less expensive that trying to develope an automated
abort or writing off the vehicle every time something goes wrong,
Since it is impossible for a programmmer to forsee all possible
problems, it is also much safer.
- The roton is incrementally flight tested, starting with short
hovers and gradually expanding the velocity and altitude flight
by flight until orbit is achieved. This is how a conventional
aircraft is tested, is much safer than the current "all or nothing"
method, and is extremely difficult or impossible to automate.
Even teleoperation introduces questionable time lags and greatly
- The FAA regulations are much friendlier to manned than unmanned
craft. For some reason, they seem to feel that a person can
exercise better judgment in an emergency than a machine.
It seem to me that all this leads to a vehicle that, while not as
safe as a commercial airliner or even a military craft, will be
orders of magnitude safer than the converted artillary pieces we
use today. Even in flight test, due to incremental test, it may
be safer. It is certainly true that, for the pilot, it is
much safer to stay home in bed, but is it really worth hundreds
of millions of dollars in extra costs? And *added* risk to the
public? When there are test pilots lined up around the block
willing to fly it?