Re: meat aboard the roton

Doug Jones (
Wed, 26 May 1999 08:51:03 -0700

Spike Jones wrote:
> Wait a minute Doug. When I heard that Rotary Rocket planned to man
> the *first* roton, I nearly choked. I understand the reasoning behind
> centrifugal pressurization and even autogyro landing, but the notion
> of making the experimental vehicle manned, well the logic utterly
> escapes me.

The nutshell answer is, unmanned aerial vehicles fail about 2000 times more often than manned vehicles, basically for lack of a human on the spot to make the right decision in an emergency. Several things make Roton amenable to manual backup control-

We intend to have a crew on every flight, including revenue flights to orbit. This makes the FAA *much* happier... Roton will be a manned vehicle, not a man-rated vehicle. (Also, helicopters are a real bear to land on autopilot, and Roton will have some kinda squirrely flying characteristics.)

Lastly, I'm the primary test and operations engineer. If I'm not willing to fly on the vehicle, nobody should be.

Doug Jones, Rocket Plumber
Rotary Rocket Company