Tag Archives: X-51

A test flight of an Air Force hypersonic aircraft failed yesterday when it went out of control before its experimental scramjet engine could be started

A test flight of an Air Force hypersonic aircraft failed yesterday when it went out of control before its experimental scramjet engine could be started.

Though failures during engineering tests are not really failures, as the goal is to find out if the engineering works or doesn’t, this particular failure is a bit more like a real failure. They never got to test the scramjet engine, which was the point of the entire flight. Instead, they had a failure of a control fin on the aircraft, and it appears that this fin was “faulty.” Not a good sign, especially as the previous flight in June 2011 also failed prematurely.

Some questions about today’s hypersonic test flight

Here are some additional stories describing today’s test flight of the Hypersonic Test Vehicle.

I have several questions, and no answers:

Second X-51 hypersonic flight crashes prematurely

Second X-51 hypersonic flight crashes prematurely.

After what the US Air Force described as a ‘flawless’ flight to the launch point aboard a Boeing B-52 mothership, the X-51 was successfully boosted to Mach 5.0 by a rocket booster. The Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet engine successfully ignited using its initial fuel, ethylene. During the immediate transition to JP-7, the conventional fuel that makes the X-51 unique, an inlet unstart occurred. A subsequent attempt to restart and reorient to optimal conditions was unsuccessful.